What does it mean to be a professional technical communicator in 2016? What will it mean to be a professional technical communicator over the next decade?
After pondering those questions I came up with this credo:
I serve my audience. I strive to know as much about them as I can, and I supply them with the information they need, in a way that’s appropriate for their context. (Or, as Sarah Maddox put it: in the language that they understand, anywhere, anytime, anyhow.)
I serve my employer. While always behaving ethically I work to advance the interests of their business and represent them to their customers and to the public as they see fit.
I represent my profession. In my dealings with subject-matter experts and other colleagues, I respect both my work and theirs. I never give them reason to question the value of the work I produce.
I constantly seek to learn new things, while discarding techniques and ideas that have become outmoded. I understand that mastering new tools and techniques, and recognizing and adapting to change, are part of what it means to be a professional.
What do you think? If you were to write a professional credo, or if you already have one, what would it include?
Larry, many communicators face ‘either, or’ while serving the audience and the employer.
So, I would throw another one in the list – “I will strive to help my employer understand what the audience needs.”
Thanks, Vinish. You raise a good point: sometimes serving our employer conflicts with serving our audience. As you say, that requires us to train our employers. A good way to do that is to call on our professional networks for help. So perhaps it can be considered part of representing our profession.
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