I had the honor and privilege of attending the STC Summit in Anaheim, California, this past May. As a student and first-time attendee, I did not know exactly what to expect in terms of scale and atmosphere. I was pleased to discover that though the Summit had a very large turn-out this year, the STC community is a rather close-knit group of professionals eager to share their knowledge with fellow attendees. Everyone was very friendly, and I was able to make new connections as well as further explore the technical communications arena through conference sessions.
Technical Editing Progression
Though technical writing has been my main focus for the past year, my volunteer work with STC has exposed me to the world of technical editing, a career path I previously knew nothing about. This is what drew me to the Technical Editing Progression. My growing curiosity of technical editing was further fueled by the two sessions I attended in this progression, during which I gained further insight into what technical editors do and their role within an organization.
I attended Lori Meyer’s table and listened to her speak about the editor’s role as a collaborator. She offered tips on how editors can better communicate with writers, colleagues, and clients. Her analogy that an editor’s job is to “clean without scratching” was particularly memorable.
In addition, I attended Kelly Schrank’s table where she talked about editing more efficiently by using a checklist to keep track of levels of editing, organize one’s progress, and keep teams of editors on the same page. Though I am not currently in a technical editing position, I believe I’ll be able to apply the checklist method in the future not only to editing, but also to writing.
As a whole, I thought the technical editing progression was very valuable. I enjoyed learning about the role of technical editors as well as how they navigate the challenges in their jobs. As a result of attending this progression, I am seriously considering a career in technical editing.
In future, I would love to see a longer time slot allotted to the progression in order to allow people to attend more tables. There was also a need for more chairs, as the turn-out was simply overwhelming. If this progression continues to be so popular, it might be necessary to have people sign up in advance in order to maximize and preserve the progression experience.
As a Summit volunteer, I was able to get a sneak preview of what speed networking was all about when I was assigned to work the check-in table for the event. During the process of checking people into the first event, I learned very quickly how it was set up and what to expect when I attended the following day.
Everyone is assigned to a progression of five different tables. The basis of speed networking is very similar to speed dating, except with eight people at once! This sounds a bit insane, but in reality it is a great way to see new faces, collect business cards, and establish basic relationships in a very short period of time.
In order to give everyone a chance to speak, each person at a table is given sixty seconds of “airtime” which is measured by a small plastic hourglass. The fun part is that you have to consolidate what you want to say about yourself so that you can make an impact without running into someone else’s time.
To prepare for this event, I wrote a short elevator speech about who I was and what I was looking for. For anyone who may be uncertain of or even a little intimidated by speed networking, I highly recommend this strategy, as you can make the most of your short time block without worrying that you’ve left out essential details.
Sticking to the time limit for each person allows everyone to have a chance to speak. When the time is up, the moderator blows a horn and you progress to the next table you’ve been assigned. All in all, you end up sharing your story with about thirty-five different people and get the chance to learn about them as well.
The faces and business cards you collect from this event are truly valuable. Not only did I run into people I had met in speed networking throughout the rest of the conference, but I was able to connect with a lot of them on LinkedIn.
All in all, I found the STC Summit to be a very action-packed and rewarding experience. The sessions were helpful and the networking opportunities invaluable.
It was also very exciting to belong to the Community of the Year (Rochester Chapter)! My chapter has been very supportive not only in helping me to attend the STC Summit, but also aiding me in making connections in order to jumpstart my career.
I am very thankful to them as well as the whole STC community for making my first Summit experience a memorable one.
Eilysh Haeger is a student member of the STC Rochester Chapter, a recent graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with concentrations in IT and Technical Communications. She works part-time as a communications associate in the RIT Information Security office and is eager to begin a full-time writing or editing career in her field. Eilysh enjoys reading, web design, and helping others tidy up their writing. Visit her at eilyshhaeger.com or on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/eilysh)