Summary:Value of Annual Conference

Subject: Summary:Value of Annual Conference
From: Thomas A Johnson <lonetechwriter -at- JUNO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 06:24:50 EST

Many thanks to those who replied to my questions about the value of
attending the annual conference in Toronto.

Responses, in no particular order are:

* * * * *

Best bang for the buck for educational opportunities.
Carma Allen

* * * * *

"Your company also needs to invest in your future by training you, by
exposing you to what's hot in the industry, and by encouraging you to
make national and international contacts in your profession."
Garret Romaine

* * * * *

Michael Wing offered the possibility of increased productivity which
would more than offset the cost of the conference.

* * * * *

Keith Soltys brought up the prospects of exposure to Web topics.
"At a rough guess I'd say that about 20% of the programs are Web related
and maybe another 20% have something to do with online topics. I don't
think you'll get more bang for your buck anywhere else."

* * * * *

Suzy Hosie suggested paying your own way even if the boss won't foot the

* * * * *

Meet new friends.

Pick up new skills.

New theoretical and practical new ideas.

from mr michel

* * * * *

>From Michelle Nichols
Here are the reasons I have used:

(1) Networking and contacts -- meeting other professionals like yourself,
different from yourself, and making friends

(2) Staying current on information technologies -- the best
tools/techniques available for doing all kinds of information delivery
(online, Web, print, MM, etc)

(3) Professional development -- refreshing my skill sets, learning new
skill sets, gathering information

(4) Maintaining my Sanity -- a break from the normal routine, while being
in an exciting and invigorating atmosphere of knowledge and people

(5) Publicity for the Company -- while at the conference, you can
represent your company and talk about what you do, which makes people
think positively about the company (or negatively, depending on what you
say, but you don't want
to tell your management that!)

* * * * *

Rikki Nyman suggests looking for conference sessions that will appeal to
your boss.

* * * * *

Susan Brown has a unique way of reducing costs. She is staying with her
Do they have room for me too? ;^)

* * * * *

>From Mike Hiatt

1. The chance to meet fellow techwriters from around the world and know
you're not alone out there.

2. Sessions of interest on either a theoretical or practical nature in
the areas you work in or areas you're interested in.

3. Revived spirit after your company thinks enough of you to send you to
a new place to learn new things.

4. The chance to see another part of the world.

5. The chance to meet interesting people.

6. Fun. Fun. Fun. (Even without a T-bird.)

* * * * *

Dan Wise gives the following plan of attack for those who still need to
battle the bosses. And, just as importantly, how to follow through so
your boss knows you got something worthwhile out of the program.

Make a copy of the preliminary program.

Highlight the sessions you want to attend.

Make sure you have a full itinerary--no blank sessions.

Add to the copy a session-by-session explanation of what your employer
will gain by having you attend that session. If your employer agrees to
let you go, but wants to dictate what you attend, give in on at least
some of the sessions.

Propose to your employer that you hold one or more debriefing sessions
with any and all who would benefit from your new knowledge so you can
impart it to them as well.

Propose to your employer that your print shop make multiple copies of the
Proceedings papers pertinent to your operations for everyone who could
benefit from them. Suggest that these would be great if accompanied by
those debriefing sessions.

It is almost impossible to come up with a benefit/cost ratio for
something like this since most of what you pick up will be intangible.
And a lot of what you learn will come from networking. If you go and
then crawl into a corner to hide, you are doomed to never again be
allowed to go anywhere. Take every opportunity to meet people and chat
informally between sessions, at coffee breaks, over meals, after hours.

If you get to go, make ... sure you pick up everything that is not nailed
down in the exhibit area. (But not the STC competition winners.) Most
of the vendors there will have brochures as well as giveaway goodies for
you to bring home. Some might even have demo discs there or will mail
them to you later. Make sure you have a LOT of business cards--even if
they are your own personal cards rather than company cards. Who knows,
you might actually stumble on some product or service that will be worth
more than the cost of the trip. And that discovery may come from some
individual who is also an attendee rather than a vendor.

...<personal paragraph snipped>

Having been to a dozen Annual Conferences over the years, I have to say
that I always got more out of them than my employer paid. And you can
quote me on that.

* * * * *

OK Dan, I did.

Thanks to all who responded. For the record, my boss was willing to send
me. My concern was that I wanted to know it would be worthwhile if I were
footing the bill. I think that's a good practice for all to follow. I
hope others out there can use these bits of advice to find their way to

By the way, for those of you considering the cost of the hotel, remember
to convert to US dollars before thinking the price is exorbitant.
Multiply the listed price, plus taxes, by 0.7 (actual conversion rate
varies). The preliminary program also has information about rebates on
goods and services tax for non-Canadians.

See you there in May!

Tom Johnson
LoneTechWriter -at- juno -dot- com

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