How Can Communicators Increase Profits?

I found the R. Stanley Dicks article in the Spilka book really interesting–especially the section on economics. Studying economics is passion of mine. While most people’s bookshelves are filled with great fiction, mine is filled with books on economics by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Adam Smith. I know. I’m a dork. But it is probably why I found this section of the Dicks article so fascinating. It also got me thinking how technical communicators can increase profits for their organization. Dicks article touched on some of this, but there wasn’t any real advise on how to increase profits. He basically says technical communicators need to show their value. They need to show that they are more than wordsmiths. I agree.

Technical communicators are in an interesting position in their organizations, well, at least in my experience anyways. Technical communicators typically know all the different facets of the organization because they work with all the departments. I’ve put this to work for me. Because I know all the parts of the organizations, I look for connections between groups and find ways for them to collaborate. For example, I work with one group that is responsible for managing Virtual Private Network (VPN) for the University of Minnesota. They provide VPN clients for people to download and install on their computers. I manage their website and documentation. I work with another group that uses Microsoft Active Directory to manage computers (e.g., deploy software, make updates, control power usage). Because I work with both groups, I made the connection that these two groups need to work together, so the VPN group can use Active Directory to deploy their VPN clients.

That is just one example of how I make connections to get people to work together. I wouldn’t have possible if I wasn’t familiar with both departments because of my work communicating for them. This example doesn’t translate directly into increase profits (Keep in mind I work in higher ed. There are no profits.). But it does translate into savings through increased efficiency.

I like the example I gave because I think it is something realistic that technical communicators can do to show their value to their organization.

About chrismoellering

I am pretty much awesome!

Posted on October 9, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The example you provided was a very good one. What you bring to your company is more than technical knowledge – you also bring common sense and a sincere desire to make your workplace better. I cannot say I would feel the same about someone who works for an outsource company.

    I think it comes down to the difference between a commodity and a contribution. You can buy pies and cakes at Walmart; however, that home-made streudel can only be found in your mother’s kitchen.

  2. Good job taking advantage of your position to make connections! I feel I’ve often heard the opposite about the role tech writers play and there being a tense relationship, similar to the article we read in 720 about engineers & tech writers.

  3. Hey Chris – we all have to let our freak flag fly, right? If yours is Econ, more power to you. I thought the example of your role at your job is the way that technical communication seems to be trending. I noticed that the authors that we are reading are casting technical communicators (Tech commers? Tech commies?) as project managers. I think it makes total sense for us to be liaisons.

    When I wrote as a freelancer for Stout, I was kind of the liaison between the Marketing Director, the Editor, and the Program Directors. Since I was working the freelance job outside of regular office hours, I didn’t have as much face-to-face interaction as I would have liked, but it still was a “connector” position.

    Technical communicators used to be the liaison between man* and the machine. Now it looks like we are going to need to reshape ourselves as the glue that holds everything together.

    *Use of the term “man” was used strictly for alliterative purposes and was not meant to disclude, disenfranchise or disturb any women who read it. No women were harmed in the typing of this response.

  4. Chris—

    That’s a good example you showed. It’s people like you that help make companies successful. At my old job, I was always trying to find ways to help the company.
    I think if employees do what you are doing, it not only helps the company but it makes your job more enjoyable. I’m sure the U of M is like any other place where changes take a long time. If you can find connections between different departments and different people, it seems to help make the business run a little smoother which helps everyone.
    At my new job, I’m still trying to find connections where I can help. Recognizing connects between departments and a person doesn’t cost any money and that’s the most important thing to most companies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.