Background

16 years' success in the corporate world...

 

 

 

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Skills and Experience:

Hewlett-Packard (HP), EDS, GTCI, City of Allen, Plano ISD, and more...

The combination of my 15 years' skills, experience, training, education, and interests combine to make me a writer who can do more than just put words on paper—or on a screen.  I become your partner in getting results from your target audience.  And when I create your message, you can be sure it will be clear, accurate, and well written.

Other writers and editors may match my combination of skills and experience, but few will have this additional ability:  in-depth understanding of how people read and where the communication process breaks down.   Why?  Both my sons are dyslexic.  Did you know that up to 20 percent of your audience is dyslexic (whether they know it yet or not)?  See The Reading Connection below.

But first, I'll show you the abilities I bring to your project . . .

Communication and Marketing Experience (15+ years)

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  • I'll help you determine the message you need to communicate and then use the best method to do so.  I'm experienced in defining communication needs and determining the most effective way to deliver this information to a specific audience—so that their actions or understanding changes.  If your brochure, website, training project, online tutorial, or newsletter has no effect on your audience (or doesn’t reach them at all), it was a waste of your money.

  • My drive for clear communication allows me to concentrate on the needs and interests of your target audience.  I have the ability to understand and simplify information and to focus on the most important issues to your clients and users.  My journalism and English background and my extensive instructional design and teaching experience have also given me ample opportunity to polish these skills and use them in “the real world” with widely varied audiences—seeing firsthand what works . . . and what doesn’t.

  • As we focus your content, we'll also clarify your overall message for your entire organization.  For example, more than a few of my clients have discovered that their marketing direction wasn't clear when we worked together to put it into a simple statement to use in website menus or brochure bullets.

Proven Writing, Training, Editing, and Content Development Skills (18+ years)

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  • I have a proven ability to obtain, understand, and organize information from subject-matter experts and then communicate it to non-experts, including ridding it of jargon.  This skill is essential in communicating with users, students, or buyers because many are unfamiliar with a seller’s or expert's terminology.

  • I have strong writing and editing skills and have used them in a wide range of technical and non-technical areas.

  • I've spent more than 18 years writing for corporations, communicating successfully with their clients, staff, and employeesas an employee and as a frequently requested contractor.  I trained and mentored other writers during most of that time and was always in demand as an editor, regardless of my role.  Literally all of my corporate roles have required heavy-duty writing ability used daily:

    • Worldwide Marketing Writer/Editor/Web Content DeveloperHewlett-Packard (HP) 2010-11

    • Senior Training Specialist—EDS

    • Curriculum Designer/Developer—EDS, HP

    • Instructional Designer—EDS, HP

    • Education Specialist—EDS, City of Allen

    • Website Content Developer—EDS, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Gordon Technical Consulting Inc. (GTCI)

    • Website Designer/Developer—GTCI and others

    • Business Process Analyst—EDS

    • Project Manager—EDS, HP

    • Team Manager/Supervisor—EDS

    • Publications Writer—EDS, HP, GTCI, and others

    • Editor—EDS, HP, GTCI, City of Allen, and others

    • Technical Writer—EDS, HP, GTCI, and others

    • Documentation Specialist—EDS, HP, GTCI, and others

    • Middle School TeacherAllen ISD

    • Texas State Champion High School Yearbook Journalism TeacherAledo ISD

Website Content Design and Writing Experience (8 years)

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Nowadays, when anyone hears about your business or organization, they ask, "Where's your website?"   If you make a good impression on people but send them to a site that doesn't quickly and clearly tell them what they want to know or (worse yet) contains mistakes or difficult navigation, you've lost them.  And these days, if you have no site at all, people wonder if you're competent.

  • Although website programming is not one of my current services, I've developed several small and medium websites when clients needed extra help.  Therefore, as a business writer, I know how to make website content work with the site's design and navigation because I've made it all work together on my own.  Additionally, I'll consult with you on ways to make your entire site better for your users.  As a content writer, I work well with website staff because I understand both the advantages and limitations of both websites and web applications

  • I bring solid experience with human-computer interaction issues from my years leading instructional design projects for computer-based training courses and web tutorials.  I won’t frustrate your website audience with difficult text, layout, or navigation, and I know how a user reads (or sometimes doesn’t read) online.

  • I have a world-class "coach" available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—my husband, a senior internet architect and programmer for a large global corporation.  In 1999, one of his EDS projects, Virtual MarketSpace, was chosen as one of three finalists worldwide for the 1999 Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) Awards.  As lead designer and developer, he flew to San Francisco for the award ceremony at the Microsoft Fusion '99 Conference, where Bill Gates personally gave him his award.

Project Management Skills (10 years)

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My 10 years' experience managing corporate communication and training projects means that I can work independently and follow a project schedule without needing to involve you in my day-to-day activities.  I know when to seek your input for something and when to move ahead.  However, you always have the final word on everything; this is your project.

Other Related Skills

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  • Process definition, documentation, analysis, and improvement skills—in business and training situations (7 years).
     

  • Teaching and presentation experience—in both corporate roles and public school positions at the secondary level (12 years).
     

  • Lifelong photography experience in digital and print formats, including skill in multiple photo and graphics software applications.  My photojournalism-style photography (using unposed photos to tell a story) works well for showing off a company’s or group's personality.  I have 6 years’ photography experience as part of professional positions and 20+ total years’ experience in photojournalism, including formal college training as well as teaching a yearbook staff that won the Texas state championship.
     

  • I'm a trained Skywarn storm spotter and have had my amateur "ham" radio license since 1996.  In other words, I have scientific and technical aptitude and enjoy working with this type of subject matter.   My bookshelves are still filled with a combination of science and history books along with all kinds of great stories and classic literature.

  • Texas teaching certification in secondary-level English, Journalism, English Language Arts/Reading, and Science.

Education

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  • Bachelor of Science—University of North Texas (UNT), Denton, Texas
    Major—Journalism; minors—English, Secondary Education

    I graduated with honors although I worked to earn all college and living expenses, away from home.

  • Texas Teacher Certification—secondary Journalism, English, Reading, Language Arts, and Science

Continuing Professional Development Training

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Communication and Training:

  • Instructional Systems Life Cycle (ISLC)

  • Writing for the Web

  • Accelerated Development Process

  • Information Mapping™

  • Instructional Programs Development (Ruth Clark)

  • Cognitive Approaches to Instruction

  • Needs Analysis Workshop

  • Harless Job Aid Workshop

  • Macintosh User-Centered Design

  • Mind Matters (similar to mind mapping)

Sales and Marketing:

  • The Versatile Salesperson

  • Building Successful Proposals

  • Customer Relations

  • Group Dynamics

  • Business Improvement Cycle

  • Quality Awareness Seminar

  • Benchmarking for Process Improvement

  • Basic Measurement (Metrics curriculum)

Leadership/Management:
  • Project Management Workshop

  • Executive Presentations

  • Leading People

  • Successful P&L Management

  • Behavioral Interviewing

Technical:
  • Systems Life Cycle (SLC) Overview

  • SLC Structured Analysis

  • SLC Project Management

  • Using the SLC for Maintenance and Minor Enhancements

  • Designing a Business System

  • Consolidated Data Modeling

  • Basic Electricity and Telephony

  • The Business of AT&T

  • The Business of GM

 

 

The Reading Connection

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I know more than most writers do about how people comprehend and remember what they read—and how the process can break down.  I'm motivated to know this thoroughly because both my sons are dyslexic.

What you may not know is that your dyslexic audience is big—approximately 20 percent of the population—and often includes people who make a real difference in the business world (and in the world itself).  However, you probably won't know these people when you see them, just as I didn't immediately notice this in my own sons.

We thought the older one was reading well at first; he had no trouble with phonics or spelling and sounded fine when he read to us.  For several years, his sharp mind masked his relative weakness in easily comprehending and remembering what he read; when school became difficult around the end of third grade, everyone was puzzled.

Two years later, thanks to a school counselor who is herself dyslexic, we finally realized what the problem could be and had him tested.  To learn how to help him, I began intense study on how children and adults read.  A year later, I passed the state teaching exam to add Reading certification to my Journalism and English teaching certificates.

During my continuing studies, I've discovered that many dyslexic adults discover their dyslexia only when their child is diagnosed (example: Charles Schwab, pioneer of the discount brokerage business).  Dyslexics work harder than the rest of us to remember what they read, although they're almost always gifted in other areas—often in math, engineering, sports, music, art, or creative problem solving.  In other words, you'll also find them in the top business minds—your clients, if you market your services to other businesses.  Here are a few top minds, who are also dyslexic, that you've probably heard of :

The list continues.  Think of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Leonardo da Vinci, whose work and struggles all fit the dyslexic pattern.

To reach this intelligent and capable 20 percent of the population, you need someone who is constantly aware of the many ways a message can break down.  No, I'm not dyslexic and have been a voracious reader from the beginning, which means I can study and understand my client's material quickly.  I didn't understand at first how my child, who is so obviously gifted in math and science, could read something and yet be unable to answer a simple question about a few paragraphs!  "You just read it 30 seconds ago—how can you not know this?" I would ask.  Now I do know what happens—and ways to communicate in spite of it.

Knowing all this is key to communicating clearly—and most writers don't know much about it because almost all of them were good readers.  Since most dyslexics also struggle to get their ideas down on paper, they usually don't become business writers!

If you also happen to be one of these gifted people, and you have great ideas but struggle to get them down on paper or on a computer screen, let me help.  I do it all the time with a son who loves poring over my fully illustrated book about Dr. Stephen Hawking's cutting-edge theories in physics . . . and who constantly invents devices out of everything he can get his hands on.  Is this kid's room a mess?  Yes!  But is he also developing ideas that could change the world someday?  Definitely.

And don't forget attention deficit disorder (ADD), which means part of your audience won't stay with you long if you don't make your message interesting and easy to grasp immediately.  You'll find a large percentage of these innovative people in the "gifted" and "successful" categories, too.

Good articles on dyslexia and the talents it often brings with it:

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All text, graphics, and photos Copyright © Lauri E. McIntosh 1998-2011, unless stated here otherwise.  All rights reserved.

Email:  Lauri@McIntoshWriting.com                            Website designed and created by Lauri McIntosh.