Welcome to STC Summit First-Timers! This is for YOU.

by Christina Mayr, Associate Fellow

The annual STC Summit is a great place to learn best practices and hear about advancements in the technical communication profession. If this year will be your first, the following tips will help you navigate the conference with confidence. Learn more about the New Attendee Experience and what we’ve planned on the Summit website.

Choose High-Value Sessions

There will be many sessions that seem interesting, but you won’t be able to attend them all. Choose the ones that will bring you the most value: either those that relate directly to the work you’re currently doing, or those that will help you up-level your skills. Many of the sessions offered at the Summit will be encored as STC webinars later, so do not despair if you are unable to attend a particular session.

Sessions for New Attendees

Here are some sessions at Summit ‘23 that are great for first-time attendees and those new to the field:

Job Searching

  • How to Land your First Technical Writing Job (½ day pre-conference workshop)
  • Resume Review sessions
  • I lost my job! Now what?
  • How to translate your communication degree into a job
  • How to Build a Functional Online Technical Writing Portfolio
  • How to Cross the Street into Tech Comm

Topics for New Practitioners

  • Let’s Get Accessible: Free Tools with Powerful Results
  • How to Set Up and Improve a Documentation Portal
  • Time Management for the Junior Writer and Beyond
  • How to Take Screenshots
  • How to Create a Doc Feedback SLA Tracker
  • How to Convert Complex Technical Content into Easy-to-follow Content

Learn More About STC

  • STC Staff & Leadership Fireside Chat
  • STC Certification
  • How to Write a Book Review for STC’s Technical Communication Journal
  • TCBOK (Tech Comm Body of Knowledge)

Take Brain Breaks

Many new attendees tend to pack their schedule with back-to-back sessions that leave no time for networking, ad hoc socializing, or just some alone time. Avoid the temptation to work, answer emails, or surf the internet while in sessions and instead aim for a 30-60 minute break every third session. Skipping an afternoon session in favor of some fresh air, exercise, or a quick nap can do a world of good.

Spread the Love

If you’re attending with others from your organization, make a plan to create the most session coverage (such as with a shared calendar). You can share notes and takeaways later while having more opportunity to socialize with others outside your organization.

Take Initiative

The Summit is a safe place to practice the invaluable skill of striking up a conversation and finding common ground beyond our profession. You might even make a few life-long friends!

In a session, sit next to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. At social events, find a person you recognize and ask to join their group (rotate to a new group every few minutes). Consider making it a goal to eat one meal a day with someone you don’t know.

Find a Buddy

A buddy ensures you see a familiar face in the hallway and open the doors to expanding your network from the very first day. Need a buddy? The New Attendee Experience Committee has you covered (more on this below).

Keep a Summit Journal

Consider writing down your conference experiences in the same place you keep your session notes. It can be helpful to jot down who you meet and what you discussed (which will come in handy when you connect on LinkedIn later). It can also be a great place to reflect on what you’ve learned, draft feedback for the presenters to submit via the conference app, and make plans based on what you learned from the presenters.

Join the Virtual Community

You won’t be able to meet everyone and attend every session, but you can quell that FOMO by joining the #summit and #summit-first-time-attendees Slack channels, and following #STCSummit on Twitter.

Interested in learning more? Check out the First-Timers Attendees page on the STC Summit website for more information.

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