They were every technical writer’s holy grail: the perfect instructions.
In October 2018, Ernest Fribjer, a technical writer at Techcomm-R-Us in Dayton, Ohio, received an assignment to write instructions for updating CRM records in SalesForce. A few weeks later, without warning, a series of screams emanated from Fribjer’s cubicle.
“Woo-hoo! I did it! I did it!” Then, gales of maniacal laughter, followed by a thud.
Original image source: oxygenxml.com
Other Techcomm-R-Us writers raced to the scene. They found Fribjer slumped over his desk, a blissful smile on his face.
As one colleague started CPR, the other glanced at the computer monitor alongside. “Eeee!” she screamed. “It’s perfect! Perfect!” Pirouetting into the narrow corridor, she stumbled and sprawled onto the floor.
The Dayton medical examiner later found that both writers had died from unalloyed happiness. The perfect instructions had claimed their first victims. Continue reading
I want to clear up a misconception. The title of this blog, Leading Technical Communication, has led many of you to think that I’m interested in leadership and technical communication.
That’s only half true. I am a technical communicator. But my primary interest, in fact my life’s passion, is leading (rhymes with sledding): the vertical spacing between lines.
Keep following my blog, and together over the next few months we’ll explore topics like:
- 3 ways to get the leading out of your cramped content
- The 6 most common line-spacing errors in B2B marketing
- Feathering your nest: pay attention to that bottom line
- 27 fascinating leading facts that hardly anyone cares about
A few new logos that I’m considering for the blog
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not just into leading. I care about kerning too, in the same way a basketball fan watches baseball to stay amused during the offseason. I mention those two sports because the playing surface for each one features a baseline.
See how cleverly I turned the conversation back to leading?
Leading (ledding), leading (leeding). It’s a common mistake. And since people so often ask for my views about leadership, I’ll sum them up here. They’re pretty simple:
- I base all hiring decisions on the line spacing in people’s resumes.
- The best way to handle disputes is to interject “What about leading?” It deflects the disputants’ attention away from the subject at hand. It also deflects their anger away from each other — and usually toward me. Alas, that’s the cross I bear for being the world’s leading leading expert.
Happy April Fools Day, everyone.