What we provide
Deep conversations that separate the true professionals from the novices
We never stop learning and if you are like us, you like to tap into training whenever you can.
Exclusive forums where members connect with each other in between times
Meet and learn every month
Every month, members have the opportunity to join a monthly call for that deep dive learning that separates the advanced sky divers from the novelty jumpers.
Anyone who takes their sport or their professional journey seriously looks for every chance to mine information and develop their skills.
Every month, members join the monthly conference call to discuss a specific topic critical to professional development. Members bring their questions, their experiences, and real-life situations to discuss and share with each other.
Together, coaches, mentors, and members work as a team, helping each other to develop their skills. Like the acrobatic tricks skydiving teams do together, members work together, support each other,and celebrate each others successes.
Typical sessions are open discussion and real-life application of issues facing members right now. Members are encouraged to ask questions and work together to apply the tactics, techniques, and strategies to their own businesses. Everyone gets floor time dedicated to their personal concerns and needs.
You’ll learn how to perfect those soft skills that technical communicators need to advance their careers and to start their own businesses and consultancies.
With the TC Dojo, we bring you mastermind groups focused on business issues that technical communicators face. As a group, we face unique challenges in the way our value is perceived and how that conflicts with our personal and professional goals.
Members work together to achieve those goals. Members share insights with each other to improve their mastery of the skills that separate the technically perfect from the industry leaders. When necessary, we invite experts to discuss topics of concern to all of us. We bring in experts to share practical tips, strategies, and actionable plans to get us moving along the path we want.
If you’re thinking about going out on your own, to grow a business or a consultancy, or even if you want to be able to climb the ladder in a large organization, the TC Dojo can help you open doors and smooth the pathways. Harness the experience from fellow technical communications leaders and business owners. Find out what’s working, what’s not, and share where you need help.
The TC Dojo was created because it’s not just technical skills we all need to develop, but the soft skills, the professional and political skills we need to advance.
[In a mastermind group] Participants challenge each other to set powerful goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them. The group requires commitment, confidentiality, willingness to both give and receive advice and ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion…You’ll gain tremendous insights which improve your business and personal life. Your mastermind group is like having a objective board of directors, a success team, and a peer advisory group, all rolled into one.
Successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Harvey Firestone, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, know the power of many minds working together. (They all use masterminds.) C.S. Lewis, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie all used them as well:
Well, if you want to know how I got my money… We have here in this business a master mind. It is not my mind, and it is not the mind of any other man on my staff, but the sum total of all these minds that I have gathered around me that constitute a master mind in the steel business… I need these men and they know that they need me in the maintenance of this master mind that is necessary in carrying on.
~ Andrew Carnegie
What does it cost?
Members of the TC Dojo Conclave talk about confidential business issues and personal and professional goals and concerns. In order to protect the space, we charge a small membership fee so each member has some investment in the group and in each other.
Because the economics of independent consultants, freelancers, individuals, and small businesses are different from those of large companies, we keep the membership fee modest.
Members get access to:
- Monthly Conclave conference calls
- Access to the Conclave forums at the TC Dojo Members site
- Access to white papers, call notes, and collateral provided by guest speakers
- Discounts on training sessions with professionals and industry leaders
Jump or don’t jump, the choice is yours to make
Step into any situation with confidence
Advance your professional and authoritative skills
How does a sky diver have the confidence to do it? How do they do it with ease? Why are they smiling? And why in the heck would they do it again?!
I can tell you in one word: Confidence
But how do you think they got that confidence? Turns out they went through the same steps we all go through. At some point they made a decision about what they wanted. Then they created a plan. Chances are they spent some time researching the sport and all of the variables. All of this leads them to the next, and most critical action—finding others to learn from.
They find coaches and clubs and teams to join so they can learn the skills. They practice their developing skills in front of the advisors, get feedback, and make corrections. They do this over and over and over again until it becomes second nature. Once they are ready they have gained the confidence they need to safely (and joyfully) take that big jump.
Business is no different. You make a decision to take action, work up a plan, you do your research, then you find someone or a group that can help guide you.
That is what the TC Dojo is all about— helping each other build the confidence you need to successfully jump.
Believe it to achieve it
Gain A Fierce Belief In What You Can Achieve
With your own personal "Board of Expert Advisors" behind you
It is true, you will never get to where you want to be if you do not believe it can be achieved and, more importantly, that you can achieve it. The belief you have will limit where you go and what you do. If you believe you cannot do something and you tell it yourself enough times, you will never do that something. You have to believe it to achieve it. But how do you achieve belief?
When you are out on your own, it can be challenging to build the confidence you need. This is where being a part of an amazing group of like-minded individuals can really help you on your journey. Think of the TC Dojo Conclave as you own private “Board of Directors.”
As in any corporation, a good board knows you and what you are capable of. Oftentimes they can see the greatness in you when you can’t. They have faith in your abilities and may even help you set more challenging goals. They believe in you and what you are trying to achieve. And most of all, they believe you can do it. Sometimes you just need to trust someone else’s belief to get you through. They are there to help guide you along the way.
As your experience grows and as your trust gets stronger so does your belief in yourself. Your ability to believe in yourself even when facing new challenges that you have no experience with. Why? Because you have learned to believe through examining your experiences and those of others. You know you have this! No doubt.
Follow the plan that hits the zone
Land In The Drop Zone
Before you ever jump, have the landing planned
In sky diving they target a landing zone. This is where you are supposed to land at the end of your jump. It’s all been planned out and timed to precision. All you need to do is follow the plan and you will have a fun jump that goes according to plan and avoid any land offs* or bounces.*
Sounds simple enough. Develop the plan and stick to it. Sure, that makes sense to a seasoned veteran with many jumps under them but not to the novice. No one ever expects the beginner to develop the plan. It takes time and practice to be able to develop a solid plan for yourself.
If you have never jumped before, how are you supposed to be able to create a safe and effective planfor landing? You work with others who have gone before you and who have done it so many times that they can teach you how. They can teach you how to develop your plan and how to avoid mistakes that they may have made along the way.
Then you practice with experts who have your back. Literally and figuratively. As your skill and knowledge grows so does your ability to tackle more and more complex jumps and plans. Eventually you can jump solo.
For you on your professional journey, the TC Dojo Conclave is like have a diverse team of expert jump instructors wanting to share with you all they have learned. To help you jump with confidence knowing they have your back so you can hit your landing zone.
*A “land off” is when you miss the landing zone. A “bounce” is when you land to fast causing your body to bounce. This can result in severe injury or even fatality so you never want to do this. Obviously!
Navigate your career with the confidence and finesse
Our approach comes from our passion for understanding who you are and what your needs are. We work with your team and, while we may work within a framework, we're flexible and dynamic. We know not everyone is the same. Our approach is geared toward people who have a sense of ownership - own it know it and control it. And who want to grow their own expertise so they're not overly dependent on outside experts.
It's why we foster strong community relationships and improving the lives of everyone in them differentiates us from our competitors. We are unmatched at creating new ways for technical communicators to grow their knowledge, skills, and confidence. With us, you can learn and grow the skills, techniques, strategies, you need to climb the ladder or go out on your own. Leverage the experience of other professionals who are on your side and in your corner.
We have a proven track record of creating unique community service projects like these:
- TC Dojo – a user-directed webinar series
- TC Dojo Masterminds – unique learning opportunities focused where members work to solve technical problems together
- Arbortext Monster Garage – book and webinar series that features community experts
- Hundreds of presentations and publications
- Logistics and support Arbortext user groups
- TC Camp – the first unconference and free day of learning for technical communicators
From the team you know you can count on
You don’t have to take our word for it.
Hear from some of the people our team has helped over the years:
Since meeting Liz, I’ve been grateful to have her as a mentor and friend. She has been a valuable resource for me as an independent consultant and conference manager. Liz listens carefully, provides relevant insight to the situation at hand, and focuses on positive conversations and outcomes. I appreciate her unwavering commitment to helping others in the technical communication profession, whether she’s seeking ways to help individuals or organizing learning opportunities such as TC Camp.
Liz Fraley is an accomplished entrepreneur who willingly shares her professional expertise and knowledge with the professional community. While Liz is widely (and quite justifiably) recognized for her expertise in XML, taxonomies, single-sourcing, and building content publishing ecosystems, she also shines as a coach and a consulting partner who helps her clients to manage successfully through such changes–whether negotiating career transitions between content positions and technologies, large-scale content infrastructure programs, or driving the organizational and cultural changes required to implement and adopt new content standards and processes. Liz brings her coaching skills to bear in a compassionate consulting ethos that focuses on understanding her client’s needs first, then providing the right guidance at the right time to drive positive change that sticks. You’re always in good hands when you work with Liz Fraley
Liz was awesome! She solidified my suspicions on where the market is headed for Technical Communications and provided professional insight that will help me chart a course of action. Thanks Liz!
Want to see
In April 2016, I was asked to present at Leadership Day at the STC Rochester Spectrum 2016. Every year, the conference chairs choose a theme and ask presenters to speak to the theme. Leadership day is a conference addition that happens the day before the main event. Leadership day presenters are expected to stay within the theme but to focus on an issue of leadership. As a presenter, it’s a fun challenge to think thematically about your expertise and construct a presentation that suits your purposes as a presenter and fulfills the thematic goals of the event while still providing a solid learning opportunity for attendees.
In 2016, Spectrum chose “Mastering Tech Comm: Harness the Power of Story,” which, for me, is a self-evident proposition. We tell user stories when we plan how we’re going to document a product. We tell stories about ourselves (to others and to ourselves) every day about who we are, where we’re going, and why a customer should choose us over our competitor. Here’s how the conference chairs described the theme for Spectrum 2016:
Told effectively, there is great power in a story that resonates with people and compels them to action. As an experienced technical communicator, you are aware of this power and harness it every day to benefit your customers, employer, and yourself. Spectrum 2016 is a perfect opportunity for you to hone and share your stories.
When it came time to create my presentation for leadership day, I decided I would tell my story.I’ve founded two companies, one for profit, one non-profit. I’m constantly trying out new ideas and I work in a segment of the industry that requires not one but two stories to be convincingly told and accepted: first, that single-sourcing of content and multi-channel publishing is critical to business success; and second, that the product I work with is the right one for the job (if the situation warrants). You can’t have the second conversation first. No one understands the product I work with unless they understand the underlying problems that present it as a potential solution.
Early in my career, it was exceptionally difficult to explain to people what I do. I’ve had to figure out the path for discussion, to figure out how to relate to a potential customer and tell a story that resonates (or discover that there isn’t one). Year after year, I told stories. I collected stories. Success stories. Failures. Long-term customers and new ones. I’ve even got a presentation that was frequently requested in professional circles and at conferences about “Where are they now” where I told stories of customers who were 5, 10, 15, and 20 years into their single-sourcing projects. It helped bridge the gap and explain the circumstances wherein what I do and what my product does applies. After 11 years leading my own company, I’ve gotten good at telling stories. And at Spectrum 2016’s Leadership Day, I told my own:
The Never Ending Interview Story
If you want someone to hire you, you need to be able to tell your story: who you are, what your plan is, and what defines you. There are key points to address at each point in the story you in order to gain customers. Just because you go out on your own, doesn’t mean you’re not constantly interviewing and telling your story. For example, how do you pitch a co-founder? What’s your customer profile? We’ll talk about all this and more.
Whether you’re a CEO or an independent consultant, you’re constantly telling your story. Every day is an interview. Every day you’re proving yourself. Every day, every customer, every prospect, you’re reinforcing the picture you present to the world. Truth be told, I didn’t really expect anything to come out of the presentation. There was no pitch for my services or collateral, no obvious tie to a sales channel for me. It’s always good practice to present and I like to tell stories, so I did.
At the end of the day during the general round-table discussion with all the presenters and all the attendees present, the audience was full of questions for me! What was even more interesting was that they wanted to ask compare and contrast questions with me and another presenter. We fill similar roles but told two very different stories. Our approaches to leadership, corporate organization, employee relations, couldn’t be more different. The audience was extremely interested in how to understand those differences in the context of their own goals, aspirations, and future career paths.
After it was all over, several people approached me to ask if I would sit down with them and answer their questions. They had questions! Now, I’ve always had a good support system. A coach. Good friends. People who will call me on my crap and tell me to straighten up and see reality! After my experience at Spectrum’s Leadership day, I looked back and noticed that over the years a lot of people have asked me to talk things through with them when they’ve been considering rising up the ranks or going out on their own. I’ve had those conversations fairly frequently, when I think about the last 11 years running Single-Sourcing Solutions. And ever since Spectrum, I’ve been getting more and more calls and requests from even more people in the months that have followed. I just hadn’t realized.
Personally, I look on my own story as a story of growth, of understanding how to look at an idea from someone else’s perspective and how to find a way to connect–to tell my story. So I created the TC Dojo Conclave to make a safe space for other professionals to have the same opportunities that I had. Somewhere we can all grow together. It’s leveraging the expertise that lies beyond your subject matter expertise. It’s the business acumen that you need to continue to advance your career after a certain point, whether you want to rise up the ranks or to go out on your own.
In the TC Dojo Conclave, we know that we are stronger together than we are alone. We know that each of us has things to learn and things to teach. We’re the leaders in our profession, always looking to expand our experience, our expertise, to be better for ourselves and our customers.
It doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re ready, so are we.