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Publications > Dateline Houston > December 2003 > Chapter News

Volume 43, Issue 3

December 2003

Chapter News

January Program Meeting

Suzanna Laurent from the Oklahoma chapter is an Associate Fellow. She earned this distinction as well as many others by working tirelessly for the Oklahoma Chapter, as the Region 5 Director-Sponsor, and now as second Vice President for the Society. She has served the Society as the Bylaws Committee Manager and manages the new Leadership Tips Committee that she started.

She has written more than 35 articles that have been published over 500 times in STC chapter newsletters around the world.

The American Business Women's Association—America's fourth largest women's organization—selected Suzanna for her outstanding career achievements as one of their Top Ten Business Women in the nation.

Suzanna is a consummate speaker, having presented over 110 chapter programs, leadership workshops, keynotes, and sessions at more than 33 conferences from Toronto to Hawaii.

She has a repertoire of programs that she can present. We've requested, "It's a Jungle Out There!" for our January 13, 2004 program. In this presentation she will explore change and its effect on all of us. But, she goes a step further by giving us strategies for making change work for us.

Join us for an evening filled with friends, good food, and a dynamic speaker. You'll take away a lot more by the end of the evening.


Hilton Houston Westchase
9999 Westheimer Road


Tuesday, January 13


5:30 p.m. networking (hors d'oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program


$10 (members)
$15 (nonmembers)
$5 (student and unemployed members)
$10 (student nonmembers)


A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.

STC Houston Breaks 500-Member Milestone

by David Remson, Information Developer, NetIQ

STC Houston broke the 500-member milestone in early November. Congratulations, Houston! Each year, STC provides chapters with funds for programs and activities based on the number of members in each chapter. Please help our chapter continue to grow by promoting our society among your peers, help us continue to enhance the programs and activities by renewing your membership, and help us add value to your membership by participating, giving feedback, and sharing your knowledge.

It's time to renew your membership for 2004. Have you asked your employer to subsidize the cost? You may be surprised to find that your employer will readily pay your membership dues. Many employers recognize the value of your participation in STC. From an employer's perspective, dues are a tiny price to pay for even one good idea that you bring back and share with your team. If you need help explaining the tangible benefits to your employer, download the STC Can Help brochure from

Need a thoughtful holiday gift for a college student? Give them an STC student membership. STC provides tremendous opportunities to student members all year for the bargain price of $50. No matter the student's academic discipline, STC activities are a great place to get an insider introduction to technical communication and related professions, to skills and methods that add value to any profession, and to the people who define the local professional community. Student members also receive the technical communicator essentials, Intercom and Technical communication. Help your favorite student jump start their technical communication career with an STC student membership.

STC has a great year planned for 2004! We look forward to seeing you at the first program meeting on January 13. Remember, we all benefit from our chapter's continued growth, so bring a non-member with you to share the experience!

Employment Report

by Steve Shriver, Contract Technical Writer, Baker Hughes

Here's great idea I got from Tom Green, who gleaned it from the TECHWR-L web site:

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the purpose of a résumé—to get an interview. The résumé entices the recruiter to want to meet you and then you get an opportunity to sell yourself. I'm going to try this idea myself, especially when I see something I really want to go for.

I've had a lot of sales experience in my previous life and I'm grateful to have that skill to fall back on. I might end up selling real estate someday in my "retirement," for example. I want to emphasize that it is a skill, that is, a talent that can be developed. Sales is something we all do, whether we realize it or not, and whether we're good at it or not. It's basic people-skill stuff.

There are three things that are important in progressing along your career path and I've been talking these until I'm blue in the face: 1) a 30-second sound bite, 2) résumé accomplishment statements, and 3) a targeted résumé, outlined in minute detail in the link noted above. Notice that two of them focus on the résumé, just to get your foot in the door.

If you can't get the interview, you can't sell yourself. That's where the 30-second sound bite is so important. Most of us are conditioned to handle any pitch for 30 seconds. Think about it—how many TV commercials have you seen in your life? We're actually entertained by commercials, sometimes enlightened, but always sold.

However, a good sales pitch never seems like it. It makes me think it's my idea. Nobody wants to be sold. But lots of people are buying all kinds of stuff. We live in a consumer-oriented culture; some would even call it consumer crazy.

A good sales pitch takes lots of planning and practice—Madison Avenue has been using this magic formula for years and years. Write it out first, then rewrite it, time it, and practice it in front of the mirror. Seriously. This is how it works, it has to sound conversational, perfectly natural.

And you can't ramble on and on. This is where many people get in trouble, especially a poor salesman. They don't know when to shut up. Thirty seconds is it. Never talk more than 30 seconds—you'll bore your recipient. Try to finish off your short spiel with a question. This is a natural transition for the other party to talk.

You need to know how you're coming across, so now you can practice the other equally important part of your sales pitch—listening. These are basic people skills and they work wonders in selling yourself, which is your most important sale ever.

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