STC Annual Conference Advice

Subject: STC Annual Conference Advice
From: "George F. Hayhoe" <gfhayhoe -at- SCESCAPE -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 08:15:06 -0400

For those who've never attended an STC Annual Conference before, here
are some suggestions winnowed from my experience. (This will be my 11th,
and they just keep getting better.)

1. Consult the preliminary program and plan in advance what you'd like
to attend.

2. Always have multiple backups. This conference may be the best
attended in STC's history (previous record: @ 2,500 at the 1990
conference in Silicon Valley). If your first choice of session is full,
there are usually more than 20 alternatives. Have a few of these lined
up so you don't waste time looking for a session.

3. Be aware that there are changes between the preliminary program and
the final program. Some speakers have to cancel; some speakers may be
added. (There aren't any room assignments in the preliminary program, so
you have no choice but to consult the final program!)

4. Attend at least one of the progressions. These sessions give those
seated around a table the opportunity to discuss a topic with a speaker
for half an hour. At the end of that time, you move to another table to
discuss another topic. You can participate in the discussion of three
topics during the progression.

5. Learn about what the Society has done during the past year and plans
for the coming year at the STC annual business meeting (Tuesday
morning).

6. Brainstorm ideas for the future at the STC Forum (Tuesday afternoon).

7. Check out the exhibition area. There are not only lots of vendors
pushing their products there, but also displays of winning entries in
STC's competitions: Online Communication, Technical Art, Technical
Publications, Technical Video, STC (Chapter and PIC) Newsletter, and
Chapter Public Relations. In addition, this year we'll have the winners
of the France chapter's publications competition, as well as examples of
outstanding localized technical publications sponsored by the
International Technical Communication PIC.

8. Attend the conference meals if you can. The three networking lunches
are an outstanding opportunity to meet others with interests similar to
your own. The Tuesday banquet will allow you to honor some of the
Society's most distinguished members. All of these events will allow you
to widen your professional circle. If your budget doesn't allow you to
attend these meals, at least be certain you're at the Sunday evening
welcome reception and the three continental breakfasts, which are free
to anyone registered for the conference.

9. Don't be afraid to talk to people. Yes, many technical communicators
are introverts, but your professional colleagues are not nearly as
daunting as those engineers and other subject matter experts you talk to
on the job! You'll learn at least as much during breaks, at meals, and
after hours as you do in the technical sessions.

10. Have fun and enjoy what the host city has to offer. The conference
hotels are within an easy walk of Pike Place Market, and there are many
interesting things to do nearby.

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