Come on, check out our fun-filled programme. Then keep reading to learn about the fabulous presentations and workshops we’ve lined up for you.

Tuesday 15 October:


 Welcome 6:30-7:30 Welcome reception - drinks and nibbles  Registration desk is open
AGM 7:30-8:30 More drinks and nibbles  Everyone welcome

Wednesday 16 October:


 Registration desk  8:00 open  Register and  grab your name tag   Coffee and tea availabe
Welcome/Opening 8:30-9:15  Pōwhiri followed by a quick coffee, tea and cookie  
Keynote 9:15-10:15 From pop to laptops: Building a sustainable career in technical communication Doug Kim - Senior Content Manager, Microsoft, USA
 MORNING TEA - 10:15-10:30
  10:30-11:15 Making our content sustainable Swapnil Ogale - Write The Docs Australia Initiator & MadCap Expert, Australia
Changeover 11:15-11:25    
  11:25-12:10 How to write good Nat Janke-Gilman - Technical Writer, Meridian Energy, NZ
 LUNCH - 12:10-1:10
  1:10-1:55 What if we really just meant empathy? Shelly Davies -  Rockstar Trainer and Writer, NZ
Changeover 1:55-2:05    
  2:05-2:50 Xero case study - Appcues meets WorkflowMax Steve Moss - Education Content Creator, WorkflowMax, NZ 
 AFTERNOON TEA - 2:50-3:15
  3:15-4:00 From TL:DR to RTFM – overcoming audience reluctance  Emily Cotlier - Consultant, Write Ltd, NZ
Changeover 4:00-4:10    
  4:10-5:00 Yes, but I have my phone Grant Mackenzie - Technical Communicator, Ramm Software Group, NZ
Closing 5:00-5:10 Today's wrap up  
DINNER 6:30 Pre-dinner drinks  
  7:00 Conference dinner and quiz night  

Thursday 17 October:


Welcome 8.30-8.45 Open day 2 MC

8:45-9:30 Can I do Javascript #1? Tony Self
Changeover 9:30-9:35    
  9:35-10:20 Can I do Javascript #2? Dave Gash
 MORNING TEA - 10:20-10:50
  10:50-11:35 Trim the mainsail! How speaking a common language helps organisations stay their course Eithne Sweeney - Director & Co-founder of Wires Uncrossed, NZ
Changeover 11:35-11:45    
  11:45-12:30 Adobe RoboHelp 2019 Workshop Tony Self - Hyperwrite
 LUNCH - 12:30-1:30
  1:30-2:15 Go with the (work) flow:Facilitating UX in your workplace Cindy Staudt - User Experience Designer, Streamliners
Changeover 2:15-2:20    
  2:20-3:00 Panel Discussion Facilitator - Abhay Chokski
 AFTERNOON TEA - 3:00-3:30
  3:30-4:00 Loving Framemaker 2019  Rebecca Officer, Allied Telesis
  4:00-4:45 Diversity & inclusion in the workplace
- an interactive session
Doug Kim, Shelly Davies
  4:45-5:00 Closing and goodbye

Friday 18 October:


Morning 8:30-11:30 Career reinvention workshop Doug Kim
Afternoon 12:00-3:00 Fighting the good plain language fight Shelly Davies


 Day 1

 Day 2

Doug Kim: From pop to laptops: Building a sustainable career in technical communication

Doug Kim is a Senior Content Manager for Microsoft, but he started out in entertainment journalism, editing arts criticism, restaurant reviews, and the occasional Britney Spears concert review.

If that sounds like a tough transition, well yes, it was, with plenty of mistakes made along the way. But out of that he created a method for assessing career goals, professional reinvention, and sharpening up that CV. In this keynote presentation, he’ll share the same method that he’s used to help dozens of colleagues and students achieve their career goals.


Tony Self and Dave Gash

The word ‘JavaScript’ can send chills up the bones of some technical communicators. JavaScript is often viewed as belonging to the domain of programmers. But leaving it to programmers can result in missed opportunities for technical communicators. As the name implies, JavaScript belongs to the scripting family, rather than to programming, and can certainly be learned and embraced without needing a lot of coding knowledge.

In this double session, Tony Self and Dave Gash will demystify JavaScript through a pragmatic, practical and interactive approach.


During Part 1, we’ll all dream up the smart features we want to include in our Help or Web content and while assembling a list of features, Tony Self will explain the basics of JavaScript.

Along the way, Dave Gash will be on hand to make suggestions, offer explanations, and generate ideas. By the end of Part 1, we’ll have a list of features and a good idea of how to add JavaScript to content.


In Part 2, Dave Gash will explain how to plan to include JavaScript, including the use of embedded scripts and external files. Dave will then demonstrate how to build each of the shortlisted features, and we will see them as they are implemented within a sample Web document. 

Tony Self will be on hand to troubleshoot and test the features as they are built. The source code to all of the features will be made available after the conference.


Swapnil Ogale: Making Content Sustainable

Swapnil questions how to make our content sustainable, especially now when our content is growing at an unprecedented rate. Just when we thought we had a handle on user needs, that seems to be changing every minute. What does it really mean to create sustainable content and how do we achieve this?

Swapnil will examine how creating content can align with the key principles of sustainability by reducing waste, creating maximum impact, placing emphasis on longevity and relevance, and providing a sense of social responsibility or governance.


Eithne Sweeney: Trim the mainsail! How speaking a common language helps organisations sustain their course

There’s a disconnect between technical and communication people. Sailing a small yacht from New Zealand to Ireland with her chief technology officer husband took great teamwork and meant learning a common language.

Eithne will draw on this experience to explain common communication issues faced by technical teams. She’ll talk to us about learning a common language and sustaining our profession.

Nat Janke-Gilman: How to write good

Nat’s presentation is about the theory of rhetoric and modern theories of the writing process. He believes being aware of these theories and concepts would help technical communicators.

It’s not entirely about writing either. People who create videos or any other type of technical communication could benefit from learning about the creative process. But he uses the title ‘How To Write Good’ because bad grammar is fun, and just jarring enough to make a point.


Tony Self Adobe RoboHelp 2019 workshop

Tony Self returns to the stage to give us the lowdown on the latest version of Adobe’s RoboHelp. Find out how it works, what’s new, and why you might want to switch. All attendees get a certificate of participation from Adobe to take home.

Shelly Davies: What if we really just meant empathy?

According to Shelly, ‘We called it being reader-centric. UX. CX. What if we really just meant empathy?’

I imagine trying to sell my writing trainings as ‘empathy training’ and I laugh so hard I consider investing in adult incontinence products. But empathy IS what good functional writing depends on. And it IS what I'm training people to develop so they can communicate better. If we consider the well-rounded skillset of the technical communicator then soft skills, EQ, and all the thinking around the #LeanIn movement come into play.

So, let's go there. Let's #LeanIn to vulnerability, connection, shame, empathy, courage, and every other Brene Brown word I can think of. And if you just rolled your eyes and planned to skip this session, I'M TALKING TO YOU. Sit your ass back down, buddy!’ You’d better be there.


Cindy Staudt: Go with the (work) flow: Facilitating UX in your workplace

Even if you don’t have UX in your job title, consider how you can be a user advocate and make your tech comms more successful.

That means knowing users and how they interact with what you’ve created. It also means knowing how to speak to colleagues about UX and how it can positively impact your work.

Cindy will discuss:
  • thinking about tech comms from a user perspective
  • developing user journeys and workflows
  • guiding a UX design process
  • being a voice user-centred products and design.

Steve Moss: Appcues meets WorkflowMax

Steve examines how WorkflowMax (workflow management software) helps prospective customers learn about the software and decide if it’s suitable for them.

He’ll focus on delivering content in a new and novel format, one that’s neither documentation, help, nor training material. His presentation will cover WorkflowMax, Appcues, including authoring and analytics in Appcues. 


Abhay Chokshi: Panel discussion

Are you a new technical communicator wondering how tech comm will provide you with a sustainable career choice? Or are you an experienced technical communicator exploring your next big career leap?

Whether you are keen to know how the next wave of technology (AI, chatbots, and voice-enabled communication) affect our careers or you are just looking for some tips on recruitment, career paths and people’s journeys, bring your questions along.

Five industry leaders will share their expertise with us in this interactive panel discussion.

Emily Cotlier: From TL:DR to RTFM – overcoming audience reluctance

Experienced technical communicator Emily examines a burning issue for all of us - why aren’t people reading what we write, and what can we do about it?

Research in 2018 showed that only 24% of users read their software or tech product documentation. That impacts us as technical communicators. It affects how people feel about our content. How we get resources allocated to us. Even if we get hired at all.

She’ll share how to turn ‘too long: didn’t read’ into ‘read the FABULOUS manual.’ And maybe a chocolate fish or two.


Rebecca Officer: Loving Framemaker 2019

Easy templates, brilliant single-sourcing, reliable image placement, cross-references you can trust to stay alive, a topic-based paradigm, and beautiful published output - there's a lot to love about FrameMaker. Coupled with responsive customer support and an active development programme, features like these make FrameMaker 2019 one of the best programmes in the world for technical documentation. It works well for both simple and complex documents - my team successfully builds 3000-page PDFs - and you can publish from your one source to PDF, responsive HTML and everything in between.

In this half hour, I'll draw on my 18 years of experience using FrameMaker to show you what it looks like and introduce you to features like these that you might love too.

Full disclosure: this talk is sponsored by Adobe - but everything I'll say about FrameMaker is my own opinion.

Grant Mackenzie: Yes, but I have my phone

Video Evangelist Grant Mackenzie believes technical communicators could make their jobs more sustainable if they modernised their output and used their phone to do it.

According to Grant, phones and tablets are our life support systems. They save us carrying over fifty different items and tools, like maps, cameras, radios, notebooks, and stopwatches. By the end of his presentation, when a client or a collaborator says, ‘but you don’t have your laptop, pad, or pencil’, you’ll respond with ‘Yes, but I have my phone.’


Shelly Davies and Doug Kim: Diversity & inclusion in the workplace

There are always issues of race, culture, and gender at play in our workplaces, but rarely are there safe spaces and ways to discuss them. Moderators Shelly Davies and Doug Kim will bring stories from their journeys, and invite attendees to share their own stories. Come to share, come to learn, and bring home some ideas for hosting open conversations in your own workplaces.



Morning Workshop 

Afternoon Workshop

Doug Kim - Career reinvention

Whether you’re looking for a new job or just want to be happier in your current one, we’ll take a close look at what’s important to your career goals and why.

We’ll also look at what makes a successful CV, and analyze yours for maximum impact and response. Bring a laptop and your CV, and be prepared to work with your fellow workshop attendees.

By the end of the three hours, you’ll have a sharper CV, a renewed sense of professional priorities, and an action plan for making your goals come true.

Shelly Davies - Fighting the good plain language fight

You're already a plain language rockstar. But good lord, how do you convince everyone else at work? We'll:

  1. Have a really good whinge and identify common challenges.
  2. Look at examples where we're successfully changing the workplace culture.
  3. Build a strategy for socialising plain language.
  4. Learn change techniques. Good old persuasive, influencing, and neuro-linguistic techniques for managing resistance.
You'll leave the workshop with:
  • a plan
  • a kete of tools
  • a network of like-minded supporters
  • a smile and a potty mouth (optional but preferable).