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Publications > Dateline Houston > February 2003 > Feature Article


Volume 42, Issue 6

February 2003

Seven Habits of Highly Effective STC Members

by Rebecca Taylor, Product Marketing Analyst, Hewlett-Packard Company

Much has been said about Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People since its publication over a decade ago. Corporations buy the book for their managers, and everyone from politicians to authors, CEOs, and entertainers sing its praises.

Recently, a colleague of mine sent me an article that piqued my interest: "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Writers," by Kathryn Riley. Riley provides an insightful interpretation of Covey's seven habits as they apply to writers. Her article has inspired me to come up with my own "Seven Habits of Highly Effective STC Members." Continue reading to discover seven sure-fire ways to get the most out of your STC activity (and the key word is activity).

Habit 1: Attend Meetings Regularly

Lurking on chapter mailing lists can get you only so far. Put a face to your name and introduce yourself to your fellow communicators! We STCers love the art of gabbing. It's a passion. And we like to share our passions. Is the meeting topic one that you already know inside and out? Go anyway. You never know what you'll learn from your peers at an STC meeting. Who knows? You might even manage to have some fun.

Habit 2: Volunteer for Chapter Committees

Your local chapter could not exist without people like you. Join it. Foster it. Cultivate it. Care for it! I can't count how many times fellow STC members have shared stories about how their volunteer time has benefited them ten, twenty, or even one hundred fold. Your STC chapter is not only a means to strengthen you skill set and resumé material, it's also a way to truly impact the lives of others.

Habit 3: Write for Your Chapter Newsletter

Again, your chapter newsletter would not exist without submissions from chapter members. As a paying member of the STC, you invest in your chapter newsletter. How many investments thrive without regular contribution? Whether you're a new or senior member, publishing your name in front of your colleagues is never a bad thing. Added bonus: newsletter writing is a great way to bolster your portfolio!

Habit 4: Support Your Local and Regional Student Chapters

I cannot say enough about how important it is to support aspiring technical communicators. With my own student experience so fresh in my memory still, I can testify to the incredible impact that my STC mentors have had on my career. In fact, were it not for my STC mentors, I would not be in STC and I would not be a writer. I'm not asking you to donate your pension plans! Share your experiences, offer your guidance, and encourage colleagues to participate in STC.

Habit 5: Attend Annual Conferences

Attend the STC Annual Conference at least once every three years. Sure, it's best to go every year, but in the real world, not all of us can afford that investment every year (which is why we have Habit 6). The Annual Conference is your opportunity to expand your horizons beyond your chapter or region. The sheer scope of the conference guarantees that you will meet valuable contacts (from all over the world) and learn something new.

Habit 6: Attend Regional Conferences

Attendance at regional conferences is particularly important if you can't make that year's Annual Conference. Try to attend your regional conference every other year. It gives you an opportunity to graduate from smaller, more focused chapter meetings to a larger gathering with more topics.

Habit 7: Join Another Professional Society (in Addition to STC)

Put simply, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. STC is a dynamic organization because our members are so knowledgeable and diverse. By joining and maintaining activity in other organizations, you're broadening not only your horizon but also that of STC.

References

  • Covey, Stephen. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People . Simon & Schuster, 1990.
  • Riley, Kathryn, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Writers," IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication , Vol 42, no. 1, pp. 47-51, March 1999.


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