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Publications > Dateline Houston > February 2004 > Chapter News

Volume 43, Issue 5

February 2004

Chapter News

March Program Meeting

How do we measure value in technical communication? Much has been written about the topic because of the uncertain economy and the growing focus on offshoring. Yet not many models exist that people can use to identify and measure ways in which their work benefits their organizations.

George Slaughter, STC Houston immediate past president, will talk about how technical communicators can use the Balanced Scorecard model to measure value in technical communication.

The Balanced Scorecard, a business goal model used by a number of companies worldwide, helps companies set their performance goals in a number of areas, including finance, customer relations, internal business process, and training.

This model benefits technical communicators in that they learn how their work benefits their companies in those areas. As a result, technical communicators, their colleagues, and their customers, develop a greater awareness of the value technical communication brings.

George is a senior technical writer with The Integrity Group and earned his M.A. in Technical Communication from Texas Tech University. He is a senior member of STC, served as the STC Houston president from 2001-2003, and his work has appeared in numerous publications.


Hilton Houston Westchase
9999 Westheimer Road


Tuesday, March 9


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.

Member News

New Member Luncheon

by David Remson, Information Developer, NetIQ

Mark your calendars, new members—the new member luncheon is Saturday, March 13!

Each year STC Houston hosts an event to welcome new members and introduce them to the STC community. This is an opportunity for new members to spend time with chapter leaders, make new friends, and get active in STC Houston. The informal lunch is Dutch treat, but the opportunity to meet and enjoy lunch together is free.

We need to get a count before the event, so please RSVP if you plan to join us.


Saturday, March 13, at 11:00 a.m.


Logan Farms Honey Glazed Hams
10560 Westheimer

RSVP before noon, March 10, to:

Member Spotlight

Congratulations to Jeff Staples who has been inducted into the Society's Sigma Tau Chi honorary fraternity for students of technical communication. Learn more about Sigma Tau Chi at

New Senior Members

According to the STC Bylaws, the grade of senior member is conferred upon those who have held the grade of member for five consecutive years. The following STC

Houston members have recently achieved senior member status:

  • Vijay Allen
  • Mona M. Breeding
  • Melanie A. Boston
  • Sherry A. Campbell
  • Martha M. Dutton
  • Brenda C. Giddings
  • Joelle G. Hallowell
  • Rondah J. Irving-Phelps
  • Karl Michael Jungman
  • Martha McGee
  • Scott D. Parker
  • Debra J. Phillips
  • Kimberly A. Sharp
  • Rebecca S. Taylor

Congratulations on these achievements!

If you have news to share about STC Houston members, please tell us by going to

Employment: The Necessity of Self-Promotion

by Steve Shriver, Contract Technical Writer, Baker Hughes

Sales is a bad word for most writer types, and it shouldn't be. It's OK to be assertive or even aggressive in seeking to fulfill your career goals.

"Now is a good time to show boss why you deserve a raise," was the headline of a good article in the Houston Chronicle on January 12, 2004. (You can access this via the newspaper's archives if you're a subscriber, or you can e-mail me and I'll send you a soft copy.)

Realize that you're going to have to do some brainstorming and come up with a sales campaign for a raise or a promotion. That's right, a sales campaign. You don't want to harass your manager, but you've got to be persistent. You need some ammunition—the objective type, not subjective.

Employees are not generally good at initiating this process and management is rarely going to take the lead. If you get your plan on paper and refine it to make your point, you'll have the confidence to mount your campaign. This process could be up to a year long.

Here's another opportunity to use the Ben Franklin balance sheet, a variation of the T-letter I wrote about last month. As the story goes, Franklin was having difficulty making a decision. So, he drew a line down the middle of a blank sheet of paper and listed the pros in the left column and the cons in the right column. He slept on it, and the next morning, the answer was easy—the decision made itself.

Make a Ben Franklin balance sheet, but this time, list the minimum requirements of your job in the left column. In the right column, list your accomplishments since you've been on the job. Try to quantify these achievements in terms of dollars or time, saved or made, whenever possible.

Now you can approach your boss with a win-win proposition: happy and well-compensated employees are very productive, and you want to be as productive as possible for your company.

This will help you when it comes time to update your resumé, too. Accomplishment statements are one of the most powerful things you can do, to get a job or to keep the one you've got.

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  Copyright © 2002 Houston Chapter, Society for Technical Communication
P.O. Box 42051, Houston, TX 77242-2051 | 713-706-3434