Wednesday’s Out of the Box Workshop

by Sherri Henkin on May 20, 2016

At breakfast, I re-read the workshop descriptions. The panel, Tech Comm Throwdown: 2 Experts Enter, 1 Winner Leaves, sounded interesting. What was this? It didn’t read like a typical panel description. “Mixing fact and fun, experts debate topics which may include…”—fact and fun? Intriguing. I’m curious what this panel is about; maybe I’ll go.

Then I heard another voice: You’re here to learn. Remember your goals: skills and business building.

Bah, humbug! I jumped ship and headed for the debates!

After each debate, we voted scientifically: clapping and yelling out our choice; the person who garnered the loudest noises, won the debate!

Viqui Dill (American Woodmark Corporation) Jack Molisani (ProSpring Staffing) entertainingly debated: Which helps TCs work better—Green Tea and Yoga or Caffeine and Junk Food?

  • Use green tea and yoga to increase your endurance for those long projects, and beat down stress.
  • But if you only have to work four hours on a sprint project and then collect your pay, caffeine and junk food get you going!

Gretta Boller (The Lone Tech Writer) and Christopher Ward cleverly debated: Which format is best for documentation—Video Tutorials or PDF/HTML/Print?

  • Video helps us learn the way we want: zone out and wake up when there’s something interesting!
  • On the flip side, we can’t search a video for content.

Leah Guren (Cow TC) and Bernard Aschwanden (Publishing Smarter) amused us as they compellingly debated: Which is the best pet for a TC—dog or cat?

  • Pro-dog, Leah shared concepts like dogs are perfect for instructional design—think why Pavlov used them! Dogs douse us with feedback and appreciation. And by needing us to take them for walks, dogs care about our physical health, they aren’t narcissistic!
  • Bernard reminded us that cats are King of the Jungle, that they think independently.
  • This one was hands-down for the dogs!

Sure got my adrenaline up! The contestants’ use of language sparked my creativity!

I didn’t give away the secrets of the costumes and props these folks used…come to Summit 2017 and check this out!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernard Aschwanden June 2, 2016 at 7:45 am

Glad you enjoyed it. That was a lot of fun to host. As a “dog person” myself it was a mixed blessing to lose to Leah 🙂


Sherri Henkin June 2, 2016 at 8:24 am

@Bernard Aschwanden–I’m also a dog person…I let my kids host the pet, though! So my family was excited to hear about this debate.


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