Consulting, Publishing, Engineering

PCOC report

The Professional Conference on Communication (PCOC) in Chattanooga just ended, and I’m writing this from the airport in Atlanta, on my way home. A much smaller conference than many others, this event was also more intimate than others, and I had the opportunity to sit and chat with a bunch of really terrific people whom I don’t usually get to see.

The official theme of the event was “technical communication in a global economy”. The opening reception was held around a firepit, and it was very nice. We even had one attendee who came all the way from Sweden, and several others who were originally from other countries (like Argentina and the Netherlands). And a surprisingly high number of people who work for translation or localization companies!

Opening keynote was Dr. Mark Mendenhall from the University of Tennessee right there in Chattanooga. He was interesting, though I thought the ending keynote (Dr. Kirk St. Amant, now at East Carolina University) seemed to relate things better to the every-day world of working technical communications. And this has nothing (or little) to do with my prior work with Kirk on IEEE/PCS committees!

My own two sessions – “A Technical Communicator’s Guide to Project Management” and “Delivering Accessible Technical Information ” – seemed to go over pretty well. I was also very happy to spend quite a bit of time chatting with Sharon Burton (Madcap Software), with whom I’ve emailed and tweeted, but not really hung out with in person, and also Hans Fenstermacher (ArchiText division of, whom I’d never met in person despite sharing several mutual friends and colleagues and spending 20+ years in the same STC chapter.

One very exciting aspect of the conference for me was the opportunity to chat with several of the students who attended. They’re bright, enthusiastic people who asked superb questions and seem to be making a really thoughtful entry into the field.

Overall, quite a success! I hope they do it again next year.

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