Navigating the Summit

“The Summit offers a powerful combination of education and networking and service. With the diversity of workshops and presentations, I’m always learning something that I can take back and immediately apply to both my work and my STC community. Meeting long-time colleagues and friends at the Summit is also a highlight, but it really allows me to meet additional technical communicators and expand my network, which is such a critical asset in the job market now. The Summit also allows me to serve others and give back by presenting and sharing what I know to benefit others and help them in their journeys as technical communicators.”

–Liz Herman, Women in Tech Comm SIG Leader

Navigating the Summit

If you’re a first-time attendee, or a first time in a long time attendee, here are tips to help make your Summit experience positive.

Tip #1: Plan a daily schedule

Use the program on the conference app to select first and second choice sessions for each time slot. It’s a good idea to select an alternative in case the first session is overwhelmingly full or not what you expected. If you find that your selection isn’t relevant to you, don’t hesitate to leave the session and find one that’s more appropriate. If you want to plan ahead, refer to the Full Schedule page. For an overview of the entire Summit, here is the Schedule-At-A-Glance.

Tip #2: Take advantage of Summit resources

  • Stay at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue to be close to the action all day! (And all night – it’s so much easier to get some rest if you are conveniently located.)
  • Visit with the exhibitors in the Expo Hall to hear all about the latest methodologies, tools, and technology to help you in your tech comm quests.
  • Introduce yourself to speakers you really like. They’ll appreciate the positive feedback! It’s also a great opportunity to connect with them so you can have further conversation later if you have more questions about their topic or want to discuss your particular situation. Bring some business cards to pass out or connect with speakers through the conference app.
  • Use the conference app. It has all the Summit information in one place at your fingertips, and you’ll have easy access to all live updates and reminders of Summit activities.
  • Seek out others working on similar projects or facing the same challenges you are by contacting them through the app, participating in networking activities, visiting the Expo Hall, and attending sessions related to your needs.

Tip #3: Network–Everyone is doing it!

Networking is important for improving your skillset, staying on top of the trends in the techcomm world, expanding your circle of influencers and those you influence, and keeping a pulse on what jobs are out there. With all of those rich benefits, it’s never too early—or late—to put some time in getting to know others. Networking can be done anywhere, but for a list of specific opportunities refer to the Network page. Don’t forget that education sessions are a perfect place to start a conversation with people sitting next to you.

Here are some networking starters to get you going:

  • Hi! I’m (your name) from (city, state, country). Where are you from?
  • This is the first time I’ve been to the Summit—how about you? What’s been your favorite part?
  • I’m really looking forward to (session/presenter). What else do you recommend?
  • Do you have a specific challenge you’re facing that you’re hoping to learn some solutions to while you’re here?

Tip #4: Follow conference “etiquette”

Wear your nametag where it can be seen. This will help others remember your name, and badge checkers will let you in to the special events!

Don’t let your cell phone/mobile device annoy others. Silence them during sessions, and step into the hallway if you need to make or take a call.

When asking questions in a session, try to be respectful of the speaker’s and other attendees’ time. Keep it concise so others can ask their questions, too.

Tip #5: Take care of yourself

Conferences are engaging and exciting but can also be physically and mentally draining. Follow these tips to ensure you are at your best for learning and meeting new people.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. There are a lot of sessions, in a lot of rooms, which means a lot of walking. You want to focus on the sessions and people, not how badly your feet hurt.
  • Hydrate and eat healthy. Traveling can be dehydrating, and long hours with lots of coffee and dry hotel air can make it worse. Drink lots of water.
  • Rest when you can. It’s okay to miss a session to rest if you need to give your brain or body a break. It’s also easier to take a break if you are staying in the conference hotel.