Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC) Opens Oct. 26 in Knoxville

PCOC, a technical communication conference hosted by STC-ETC, highlights ROI and immediate on-the-job application of learning

The Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC, pronounced “peacock”) offers what many conferences do not—an opportunity to apply practical skills and knowledge immediately in short workshops. Given biannually by the Society for Technical Communication East Tennessee Chapter (STC-ETC), PCOC encourages a deep and detailed sharing of job-applicable knowledge in a short amount of time.

The planning committee used current communication technology to tell tech comm professionals about PCOC, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (@PCOC2012). On the conference website, they supplemented speakers’ bios with video introductions from some of the speakers to enhance the user experience in getting to know speakers. The conference website also calls out information on return on investment (ROI) to help attendees convince employers to help with the minimal costs. For this year’s event, Adobe, the conference Platinum Sponsor, and University of Tennessee Knoxville English Department, have supported student attendance to enrich students’ understanding of the profession, expose them to venders, help them network, and encourage them to join STC.

The ROI is high relative to the fee and time. The 27th PCOC, held at The Rothchild Catering & Conference Center, in Knoxville starts in the late afternoon (4:30 ET) Friday, Oct. 26, with a panel discussion and networking party to allow attendees to travel same-day and save costs. Saturday opens with a keynote speaker at 8:30 am, followed by one-hour interactive workshops and ends with lightning talks, popularized at the STC Summit this yearThere are also optional group activities planned for Saturday night and early to midday Sunday, leaving time for people to catch a plane or drive home.

Attendees receive certificates and copies of the proceedings that include the workshops, the lightning talks and the panel discussion for reference and sharing on the job. Conference swag (Stuff We All Get) includes a raffle of Knoxville items donated from local businesses, and gifts of software: AuthorIT Cloud®, the conference Silver Sponsor, and Adobe TechComm Suite 4®, the Platinum Sponsor.

Presented by professionals working in the field, the workshops and lightning talks will appeal to a range of professional writing interests, including:

  • Using social media to find work
  • Tools for managing content
  • Writing press-releases
  • Conveying technical/scientific content to the public
  • Leveraging a creative writing background in tech comm
  • Writing to win an insurance claim
  • Designing indexes
  • Creating WIKIs for efficient work processes

Conference planners reached out to professional organizations other than STC chapters, such as American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), and are offering the STC member rate of $121. Students may register for $45, and the standard fee for “not-yet” members is only $145. Visit the conference website for details and to register online.

Julie Grady

Julie Grady is the marketing/technical communications specialist at Qsource, a nonprofit healthcare quality improvement and information technology consultancy. Her experience includes creating promotional and informational materials; editing, writing, and designing technical publications, proposals, analytical reports, web content and books. She is also a reviewer for the Southern Medical Journal and theses and doctoral students. Julie has a master’s degree in English and a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Memphis. She recently editedYou Can' Eat Your Degree, by Tricia Berry and Danielle Forget Shield.

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