Re: Good Advice Revisited

Subject: Re: Good Advice Revisited
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 18:42:17 -0400

>>Now that the STC Annual Conference is over and you have all returned to
>>your humdrummedy workaday world, do any of you who attended have any
>>second thoughts? Any gee-I-wish-I-had-done? Any
>>if-I-had-it-to-do-over? Any I'm-going-to-do-it-this-way-next-time?

My best advice is NOT to immerse yourself completely in the conference. I
saw so many folks in Seattle (and in DC last year) who were completely
burned out partway through the 2nd day of the conference. They arrive just
before the opening party, attend every possible session, eat 3 meals a day
with people they met at the conference, and spend every evening socializing
with other STC members.

My husband (who delivers papers at several education conferences each year)
gave me some wonderful advice. I've followed it for two STC conferences
now, and I think it's worth passing on.

1. Arrive at least one day ahead of time. If the conference starts on a
Sunday, adjust your travel arrangements so that you get there on Saturday.
Besides starting the week with a good night's sleep, you will probably also
get a significant discount on your air fare.

2. Arrange to meet someone specific at the hotel, or the opening session,
or at breakfast on the first day---especially if this is your first
convention. If nobody else from your chapter is attending, canvas your
email buddies or network to finagle an introduction to a
friend-of-a-friend. It's easy to feel lost and abandoned and overwhelmed
by the crowd.

3. Avoid mental fragmentation. Concentrate on one or two tracks at a
multi-track conference. Focusing on fewer topics will be less exhausting
than trying to cover everything.

4. Go to at least one program session each day that you know will be
entertaining as well as informative. So -what- if you have a degree in
graphic design---Bill Horton's introductions to visual communication are
FUN, and you just might get a different perspective or a new idea or three.
At the very least, you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself---and
return to the heavier technical workshops with energy and enthusiasm.

5. Plan ahead. Find a second and third and even fourth choice for each
program session. When you get the final schedule (with room assignments
and convention center maps), plot your route so that if your first choice
is full, you can -quickly- get to options B, C, and D.

6. Spend at least one afternoon or evening doing something that would be a
special event at home. Go to a concert or play, a sports event, take one
of the hospitality tours, go for a walk in the park, see the zoo, visit
friends or relatives, explore galleries or museums, whatever. Pretend it's
a vacation.

I've added another few bits of wisdom that fit my obsessive need for privacy.
***Dedicated party animals can skip this bit.***

7. Have at least one meal a day away from the crowd, either by yourself or
with friends who have nothing to do with the conference. Talk --- and
think --- about something totally unrelated to the conference subject.

8. Make your lodging reservations independently. B&B arrangements are
great, and there are often some lovely small hotels right across the street
from the convention hotels. Even if you stay at one of the convention
hotels, making the reservations yourself will generally put you on another
floor out of the 'conference block'. It's much quieter that way.

9. If your body clock is skewed from the species normal (I wake up without
an alarm around 4AM, and turn into a pumpkin around 8:30PM unless I take a
nap) consider forking over the extra $$ for a single room. There is no
point in annoying your friends by singing in the shower before dawn, or by
being grumpy when they wheel in from a local bar (or the chocolate festival
in one of the corporate hospitality suites) after you've been asleep for
several hours.

10. If all else fails, and you feel yourself tuning out from intellectual
overload or getting irritable and surly from battling the screaming hordes,
GET OUT. Blow off one session and go for a walk, or find a quiet corner
and curl up with the latest Dick Francis or Mercedes Lackey novel. Then
come back refreshed and receptive for the rest of the conference.

Whew! This is a lot longer than I intended. Hope it helps.

K@ _________________________________________________Kat Nagel
LIFE1: MasterWork Consulting Services katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
Health info service mediref -at- mcls -dot- rochester -dot- lib -dot- ny -dot- us
LIFE2: Vocal chamber music PlaynSong -at- aol -dot- com

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