atw: Re: Dealing with SMEs?

I find that drawing a diagram as the conversation progresses works well.
A lot of SMEs, especially the technical ones, will begin to correct, add to
and enhance the diagram.  Having a large whiteboard with the diagram or key
points displayed can work if you are sitting amongst technical SMEs.  They
wander past and offer suggestions, corrections, and more detail.

Another tactic is to write out what you have so far, and ask them to check
it.  If it is totally off at a tangent then you have a problem, but this
usually works.  Make sure that it is tidy as you don't want them to start
correcting grammar, spelling and so on.  If you leave it with them though,
there is a high risk that it will never be seen again.

If you are describing a process, you really have to do it yourself and make
your notes as you go.  If you get stuck, you can take them the notes and ask
them what to do to get past this step, and so on.  Very few people mention
every step.

Bob T

2009/3/10 Jill Nicholson <jpnicho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

> Make an appointment for the same time each day - whenever it suits them. I
> found 4 oclock was often a good time - don't bug them at irregular times and
> intervals as they also have work to do.
> Use a tape recorder so you can play back the conversation at your leisure.
> You will have to ask about this but most SMEs don't mind.
> If logistically possible it is better to be face to face than use email.
> Draw yourself lots of digrams - it often helps you understand what belongs
> where etc.
> Good Luck
> Jill
>
> Jill Nicholson
> N&H Communications
> 2 Park Ave
> Roseville
> NSW 2069
> jpnicho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> www.nhcommunications.com.au
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "j.sids" <sids.515@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 8:12 PM
>
> Subject: atw: Dealing with SMEs?
>
>
>  Hi there, I'm a relatively junior writer (been in the job for 6
>> months!) and would like to ask the more experienced writers out there
>> - how do you deal with SMEs and new information?
>>
>> My problem is, the content I'm given to write is very new and complex
>> to me, so I have to ask them a lot of questions just so I understand
>> things. A few times now, I get the feeling that they get frustrated at
>> me, or think that I'm dumb because I keep asking them to clarify or
>> repeat points. I'm not sure if there is a delicate way of handling
>> situations like this, or good way of dealing with new information. I
>> tend to keep asking them questions (back and forth) and then I get the
>> feeling that they're getting hostile, possibly out of frustration.
>> What is your advice for dealing with new, complex information when
>> dealing with SMes?
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-- 
Bob Trussler
Phone  0418 661 462

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