Vancouver-area Tech Comm Café: Jan. 16 recap; next meeting March 13

Vancouver-area Tech Comm Café: Jan. 16 recap; next meeting March 13

We managed to find a quieter corner in a restaurant that’s known for its large echoing rooms and loud atmosphere as well as for its good food. We didn’t quite have to shout to be heard, but the group was large enough that each half of the table had its own separate conversations going on.

We were pleased to welcome several new faces, including a winner of this year’s student membership awards.

We began with announcements:


  • The upcoming Camtasia workshop is full, but the chapter will keep a waiting list in case the event is repeated.
  • A webinar about infographics is scheduled for March 6.
  • The STC Canada West Coast chapter is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019! Watch for news of special events (subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter) and articles highlighting the past and future of the chapter.
  • The chapter is looking for volunteers to write for the website and to fill leadership positions such as Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Web Editor, and Student Outreach Coordinator, starting this spring when the chapter’s executive terms begin. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.

One person discussed the international technical writing conferences he attends regularly, such as the STC Summit, Lavacon, and Information Development World. Each has its own focus and every year is different. Each provides great opportunities to network with a broad range of people in our field and talk with vendors showcasing new software and other products. The number and variety of topics make it hard to choose which presentations to attend; he recommends studying the program in advance and choosing some topics related to your current job, some cutting-edge sessions on brand-new tools and techniques, and others that simply intrigue you.

That led to a discussion of the value of STC membership. Sometimes it seems that head office and international members are remote from chapter-level activities, but the association has much to offer and we agreed that, especially if you’re a student member or your employer recognizes the value of paying for your membership, it’s worth it. Several people had found work through networking at chapter events or made valued connections through volunteering.

We touched on the question of artificial intelligence replacing technical writers and decided, not surprisingly, that human writers are still needed. We also discussed the merits of various authoring tools and the need to keep our skills up to date.


The Tech Comm Café provides networking opportunities, job leads, answers to work-related dilemmas, and a burst of professional energy to keep you motivated. We discuss technical writing tools and techniques, career planning, portfolios, and anything else related to working as a technical communicator.

We welcome anyone who’s interested in technical communication — contractor, in-house, student, long-time tech writer, STC member, non-member, career-changer, or recruiter. We hope to see you at the next meeting!


Next Meetings

  • Wednesday, February 6: Victoria Tech Comm Café.
  • UPDATE, Feb. 11: the February 13 Vancouver-area Tech Comm Café has been postponed to March 13 due to snow. Details below.
  • Subscribe to receive email announcements of future meetings.


Next Vancouver-area Tech Comm Café: Wednesday, MARCH 13

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 12.

Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Time: 6:30–8:00 pm Pacific Time

Location: Green Basil Thai Restaurant, 4623 Kingsway (near Metrotown), Burnaby, BC. Check their website for menu and pricing.

Green Basil is across the street from the northwest corner of Metrotown, on the north side of Kingsway, east of McKay Ave. Metrotown Skytrain station; free or metered parking on nearby streets.


  1. Introductions. Take 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your background, current activities. A good chance to try out that new elevator speech.
  2. Announcements and job leads. If you know of an interesting event or a job opening, or you’re looking for work, share it with the group.
  3. Brainstorming Q&A. Ask about a work-related problem and discuss potential solutions.
  4. Speed networking. Spend a few minutes with a new contact, exchange business cards, and discuss your professional backgrounds and goals.