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Women in Standards is an enthusiastic network of standards professionals who provide support, resources, and mentoring to promote business and personal growth.
Members and friends,
I hope this August newsletter finds you safe and well. It is now six months since stay-at-home orders were issued in the United States and for many of you, your children have returned to school or will be returning soon. Whether online or in person, we wish you well in juggling work and home life and encourage you to reach out to Women in Standards for support, with questions, and to share your thoughts with your fellow Women in Standards members.
For those struggling with the constant changes, consider attending our upcoming webinar September 24 on “Navigating Change in Times of Uncertainty” – Presented by Mary Lou Meddaugh or attend our upcoming happy hour September 10th. Click here for full list of Women in Standards events. 
This month we explore terms and terminology and the critical role they play in setting the state for standards setting. To share your insights and stories on defining terms, reach out to
Warm wishes,
Karin Athanas
Executive Officer
Women in Standards
Defining Terms for Standards Development

The Art of Agreeing on What a Word Means
I was just getting up to grab a drink and my sister asked me to grab her a pop on my way back. I thought it strange, but off I went and grabbed her a Popsicle from the freezer, returning with a cherry Popsicle and a glass of water for myself. My sister seemed puzzled and then annoyed and all I could think was I’d grabbed the wrong flavor when she began laughing and exclaiming “I meant a soda!”
Language is the backbone of communication and if you and your companions aren’t speaking the same one, confusion is inevitable. Different towns, cities, states, and countries, pronoun words differently and speak many different languages. So many in fact that even the United Nations has set a limit, specifying that speakers are to present speeches in one of only six official languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese. [1]
In standards development, one of the first hurdles a group will encounter is agreeing on which words and definitions for those words will be used in the document under development. For easy reference, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has provided an online portal to allow users to look up any definition published in their standards and a quick search of the word “Identification” returned 384 results. [2]
What to do when you can’t agree on a definition? One approach may be to ask each member to propose one and then work within your consensus group to negotiate between different proposals a definition everyone can live with. The group can also start with a known definition and revise it as needed to ensure application within the document.
Sometimes a clarifying word may be added because a term is too broad on its own. Identification may be further refined into “Event Identification” (see ISO 3779:2009) or “Identification Scheme” (see ISO/IEC 6525-1:1998).
In other cases, the group may decide to use a less difficult word or combination of words to describe the same thing. A word may mean different things when translated into other languages or may not have a translation in a different language, in this case, choosing an alternate word can ensure understanding and ease of use in other countries. In my example, “pop” is further clarified by using the expanded “popsicle” or could be clarified with the preceding word “soda pop.” Both would ensure understanding of listeners and provide the needed extra context for consistent application.
It’s also beneficial to review other published standards and definitions to see what others have done, which terms they’ve selected, and whether definitions they’ve chosen can be used and referenced, easing the process of adoption and ensuring harmony with other publications. In some standards development organizations, a single standard for terms is established and all consensus groups are required to make use of those terms or propose new terms or revised definitions when needed. This approach helps to prevent duplication and promote harmonization between standards.
Whatever the approach your group takes, it’s important to remember that there is no right way to define what you’re discussing, only the way that ensures the highest level of understanding. As such, flexibility and the willingness to compromise is of highest importance. This will ensure the broadest audience will be able to read and understand the document and begin using it in day-to-day work. If those reading it cannot understand the terms used, it is less likely they will choose to use it.

Helpful Links for Language Translation

Using Interpretation Services During Meetings 

Wordly, an AI Driven Translation Service 

Top 10 Translation Services 

A Review of 2020 Top Translation Services 

The 5 Best Free Translation Apps 
Inclusive Language in Standards Development

Is it Him, Her, or They?
Use of language is critical for proper interpretation when developing a document meant to be read and used by a broad range of people from different demographics, geographic regions, and other walks of life. In addition to agreeing on the terms and their definitions that will be used in the document, how you refer to the person or person(s) taking action and who they interact with within the document will determine whether the reader can see themselves performing those same actions.

Read the full article here
Women in Standards at SES

In August 2020, the Society for Standards Professional, SES, held their 2020 annual conference. Women in Standards celebrated with our fellow standards industry friends and family at the 69th annual conference which was held virtually due to travel restrictions.

The theme of this years’ conference was the “The Value of Standardization and the Standards Professional” and the conference welcomed hundreds of attendees including international participants from around the globe. 

Women in Standards members were represented in four out of the six sessions offered at the Annual SES Conference and Women in Standards Board member Amy Lestition Burke presented the closing keynote! It was an amazing celebration of our organization’s support for standardization and ensuring a broad spectrum of participants supporting the development of standards. 

Review the full summary here
Become a Women in Standards Sponsor
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This is an amazing time for the organization, events are planned through the rest of 2020 and the Women in Standards Survey entitled “Inclusion in Standards: A Survey of US ANSI-Accredited Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs)” will be published July 28, 2020. Sign-up today to be a Women in Standards sponsor, click here

Participate in an educational presentation and voice your thoughts on standards development. 

Submit an article for publication in the WiS E-news.

Follow the Women in Standards on LinkedIn and Facebook and get up-to-date information on new standards activities - events, committees, and federal programs.

Participate in online chats on issues of standards and raising the voice and participation of women in standards. 

Gain life-long friends, champions, and mentors within the standards community. 
Gaining Visibility at Work 

Are you seeking new opportunities to advance and grow in your career? Finding it hard to gain visibility or opportunities? Try these three suggestions to up your game and get that much needed attention to advance your career:
Don’t be left saying ‘um’ when pitching a new idea to your boss. A well-rounded idea and proposal with pros and cons outlined and counter arguments at the ready shows your conviction and dedication to a project. Be prepared to hear no and show your resilience by bringing a secondary proposal to pitch. Whether you get a yes or a no, learn from the experience by asking questions. Ask why or why not your boss agreed to your proposal and for what reasons and use that information to enhance your pitch for next time.
Build Relationships
Gaining momentum requires people to support your efforts and ideas. Reach out to those around you to share your thoughts and gain their feedback. By building the foundation first, not only will you have a strong support system ready, but your ideas and proposals will be that much better having been reviewed and enhanced by peers. When you’re finally ready to make that first pitch, you’ll have a crowd of supporters behind you to help raise your voice and help you be heard.
Ask First
Are you have trouble finding your place within the landscape of your work colleagues and team? Explore a project from different perspectives by asking your team how they see the project and imagine yourself in their shoes. Ask why different steps are needed and what actions they cover. If things don’t make sense, dig deeper and grow your understanding of each element of the project, even if you won’t perform those steps yourself. Being on the same page as your colleagues will help you better communicate with them, enhance teamwork, and will show appreciation for the role each member plays – gaining you increased visibility as a team player and valued coworker.
Check these links for more ideas and suggestions:
Speak Up: A Guide to Getting Your Voice Heard at Work, Forbes
What to Do if You Struggle to Be Heard at Work, Thrive Global
How to Make Your Voice Heard at Work, SHRM
Supporting a Strong Mind and Body at Work
Delivering on high quality to your boss and team must include a focus on your physical well-being. Balancing the two will ensure that you can muscle through those tough days and enjoy the benefits of a job well-done. Try out these tips and suggestions for staying focused, strong, and healthy while continuing to strive at work.

Read the full article here
Open Positions
  • Technology Standards Committee Manager at TIA
  • Program Administrator, ISO Team at ANSI
Women in Standards SDO members can post jobs and calls for committee members through the Women in Standards members-only portal. Not an SDO member? Click here to join 
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