Saturday, August 07, 2010

Mentorship Queries

Mentoring has numerous benefits that are independent of position, function, domain, technology, and so on. To highlight these benefits in my column, I would like to draw on experiences from real life – both from the point of view of mentors and mentees. Following are a few few questions asked, and I have tried responding to them with sincerity.

Who has been the best mentor in your career/life? Why? Makrand Pandit (Mak) has had a great impression on my professional life. He is talented, a man of great repute and managing skills are extraordinary. Mak allows you to grow as a professional. His mentoring skills are methodical and exemplary. He provides you a scenario and allows you to solve the problems by your own reasoning. Extremely polite and calm at situations, Mak teaches you the basic values of life and yet remains humble. He is the best mentor any one could have. Mak has made a great impression on my professional life. Watching him work is a lesson in itself.

Can you recall a couple of specific instances where your mentor’s guidance helped you do the right thing?Yes, the situation is very much fresh to this day. I was fresh to technical writing and much like every newbie  followed the various technical writing mailing lists.Once I gathered some encouragement to respond one of the queries that was received with flak by a lot of people. Disheartened and dismayed, I decided to unsubscribe from the mailing list, but then I received an email from Mak. He then had a call with me and discussed where I was incorrect. We went through the email once again, and this time he showed and underlined the errors committed in the email. There were mistakes in grammar and sentence composition, but the manner in which he made me realize was a lesson. I become far more confident after that day.

Who has been the best mentee for you? Why?: I have been mentees to couple of my students. It will be bad if I take their names for confidential purposes. But, the gentleman who lost his job during the recession phase of last year and yet took the STC India Mentorship program needs a special mention and applause. 

What do you think are the top 3-5 reasons for successful mentor-mentee relationships? I believe whatever you do you need to see that the other party listens. So participation is by far the most important thing that you need to have for successful mentor-mentee relationship. The second thing, which ticks is learning from both the ends. A mentor should make it a point to test the mentee' knowledge during the completion of the program and acknowledge if he/she has learnt something new. And, finally, you do not boss around in this relationship. When two person agrees to get into this relationship, they should consider both of them as equal parties seeking knowledge. Only then can the seeds of successful relationship work.

What makes the mentor-mentee relationship go wrong? What would be your advice to mentors and mentees to avoid such situations? Do not have bossy attitude, refrain from false conviction and statements, do not make false promises, stop making fun of each and be professional- I guess all of the points mentioned by me needs to be avoided for mentor-mentee relationship to not go wrong.

Advice to mentors- Understand and analyze the mentee' profile even though the mentorship manager may look into it but still you should make the final call,ask the mentee to come up with a list of key areas that she/he wants to cover up in the program and prepare your agenda based on the program, keep a diary and record the important points, listen to mentee' confusion/dilemma, be emphatic, observe mentee' growth, give exercises to test the mentee' aptitude and skills, never scold them and allow them to make mistakes but teach them carefully, be punctual and keep it as much professional as you can.

Advice to mentee'- have your objectives set and get it ratified by the mentee before the program starts, clear your doubts as and when you have, do not call up at wrong times and instead write emails, be inquisitive and punctual, never shout at your mentor but correct them if he/she is wrong.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bangalore Technical Writers Meetup-Supported by STC India at Misys on January 30,2010

Dear Members,

Happy New Year to all of you! Here are the details to this year' first meetup:

The Bangalore Technical Writers Meetup-Supported by STC India is pleased to announce a half-day learning session on January 30, 2010 at Misys Software Systems, Bangalore.

Misys is sponsoring this session.

Please make sure that you are present at the venue by 10:00 AM (latest) to avoid inconvenience to the speakers and the participants.

To ensure higher security for all the delegates, Misys mandates the following:
- Identity Card
- Business Card
- Online Confirmation Letter

Don't worry if you don't have all the items listed above, if you are having anyone of these, it should be fine to allow you inside the office premises.

Both STC and non-STC members can attend the session for FREE. However, registration is MANDATORY. Please note that the registrations for the sessions close on January 28, 2010. For

registration, please drop in an email to rguptaz at gmail dot com.

You can read the details at http://techwriter.mee...

10:00 AM – 10.30 AM – Registration
10:35 AM to 11:35 AM – "How content is created and consumed" by Peter Yorke
11:40 AM – 12:10 PM - Coffee Break
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM – "About Madcap Flare" by Venkatesh Iyengar

About the Presentations:
Topic: "How content is created and consumed"

Synopsis: This presentation focuses on new trends in creating content and the blurring lines between marketing and technical communication. It talks about democratic creation of content,

transparency in communication and examines new trends in content dissemination. The presentation is designed to appeal to the tech writer, marketing manager and man on the street!!

Speaker: Peter Yorke is founder and independent consultant at Yorke Communications Private Limited and has around 20+ years of experience in branding, corporate communications, content

management, marketing, high-tech public relations, training and technical communication. Prior to starting Yorke Communications, he was the Vice President – Marketing and Communications

at Oracle Financial Services (formerly i-flex solutions). Peter' expertise includes Marketing, Corporate Communications, Internal Communications, Media Management, Branding, Name Change

Communication and so on. More details about the speaker:

Topic: " About MadCap Flare"

Synopsis: MadCap Flare is a professional authoring software tool for technical writers, documentation specialists, and user assistance developers. Whether the writer is creating projects for

high-end digital print publishing, desktop publishing, help systems, or web-based online publishing, the writer has a complete set of professional help authoring and content development

tools.Authoring can be done in structured topic-based content development for powerful, and sophisticated information delivery. This documentation tool allows the writers to easily create,

manage and reuse content with conditional text, variables, snippets, outlines, and more. Please note that Venkatesg will talk about its important features, creating snippets, variables, and

generating output. The presentation will be for 45 minutes and Venkat proposes to reserve 15 minutes for answering the questions.

Speaker: Venkatesh Iyengar works for Consona Software, Bangalore as a Senior Technical Writer. He was earlier associated with Subex Systems, LogicaCMG, i2 Technologies/DELMIA, and

Symphony Services. Venkatesh has worked on diverse products and domains including telecom, CRM, SRM, PLM, and ERP. In a writing career spanning 10 years, Venkatesh has traveled

extensively and has delivered many types of user documentation to a varied audience. His hobbies include teaching financially-challenged children with learning tools and what he holds very

dear to his heart is leading team of friends to provide assistance to people undergoing oncological treatment.

Misys Software Solutions (India) Pvt.Ltd,
3rd Floor, Saraswathi Conference Room,
Eagle Ridge, Embassy Golf Links Business Park,
Off Intermediate Ring Road, Koramangala
Bangalore 560071
Cell: 9900171161

Misys office is situated next to the CSC building and Opposite to the uSigma office.

You can also get the directions by clicking the following URL- wloc=A

We look forward to see all of you there.

Thanks & Regards

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Seek your inputs for a Social Network Portal in Technical Communication


I am in a process of designing a social network portal for technical communication and user experience design. I am planning to use Joomla as the open source tool for this purpose. To facilitate the process, I seek your assistance in two ways:

1) Please tell me what are the things that you feel that a social network portal in technical communication should consist of? I wish to make the portal interactive, so if you could tell me if blogs, quizzes, forums and so on can be of much help? Or, suggest me some ideas.

2) I need a web designer preferably someone who has worked in Joomla. I have the prototype ready and just want the designer' assistance in implementing the process. The designer will be paid a good remuneration. I can talk to the person about the remuneration part offline.

Appreciate if you can respond to me at holypriest at gmail dot com.

Thanks & Regards,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Calling Articles for the Bangalore Technical Writers Meetup

Good news!

Come January 2010, Bangalore Technical Writers Meetup ( is starting of with something special! We are going to bring you a surplus of articles in technical communication, usability and user experience design. No need of educating yourself as to who will be writing those articles. For this is where, YOU stand to grab a spotlight. The idea is to select an article every month and post it to the Bangalore TW Meetup as well as to the award-winning STC India' bi-monthly Ezine INDUS.

Do's and Don'ts
The word limit for articles is 600 to 1000 words. Do include your recent passport-sized scanned snapshot and a short bio about yourself, in around 40 words in the email. Do remember we will ONLY entertain articles, which are original and written by you. Stupid me, but if you are planning to copy or use someone' else works, please remember to get an acknowledgement from the respective authors. In no case, Bangalore TW Meetup will be responsible or liable for your content in the article. So, hopefully you will be original and allow us to read YOUR thoughts. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to see how your writing is judged and am sure, we all would love to read those valuable inputs and improve on our writing skills, for that is the ultimate objective.

Send me your articles on or before January 20, 2010.

How to submit?
Submit your article by email. My email ID is holypriest@ Our editors panel comprising of will be doing a more thorough edit of your work and will send you the red lined version for your article. You will then need to acknowledge the reviewer copy and send out your final draft. We will send you an email once your article gets posted to the Meetup site.

If you have any concerns or suggestions, appreciate if you write to me off-list. My email ID is holypriest at gmail dot com.

We look forward to hear from you.

Best wishes

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Calling all Presenters for the Meetup


Hope all of you are doing fine. I am writing this email to know your interest in conducting learning sessions at your office premises. As you know, the Bangalore Meetup for Technical Writers is a voluntary outfit managed and run by professionals with full-time careers in technical writing.

It will thus be of great help if you can come out and assist me in this work. Please have a discussion with your training or HR folks if they will be interested to organize a learning session at their premises. All we need is a conference room with projectors and enough seating arrangements to hold a capacity of 40-50 participants. That is all!

I am also looking out for presenters for the meetup sessions; in case you have a topic and need a platform to introduce it before the writers- we will be more than happy to do it for you. All you need to do is to send out an email to me citing your topic gist and boom! I will get in touch with you. But be sure, that you have loads of energy in stored because all you know you may soon be a regular presenter to the meetups.

We have been keeping the registrations FREE and we intend to continue it in 2010. But! let's get some new faces, and loads of energy.

Come on folks! spread the word, and help me in this venture. You can write to me at holypriest at gmail dot com
I look forward to see my mailbox full with your emails, :)

Do not forget to send across your feedback and suggestions too.

Have a wonderful and prosperous 2010!