How to maximize your summit experience


Review all the sessions before the summit and choose a first and a second choice for each time slot. Review if you want to attend any additional meetings or presentations at lunch or in the evening. For example, I attended a few networking events, the leadership program, the annual business meeting, and the honours reception.


  • If presenter slides are available ahead of time, print them and bring them to their session.
  • Prepare questions. Poll your chapter and executive ahead of time. For example, I had a list of questions that I wanted to ask the Members Services Manager about membership reports.
  • Type up your session notes on your laptop during the session. I found it faster and more convenient to type up notes at the sessions. There were charging stations and long enough breaks to run back to my room to charge my computer at lunch.


Photo taken by Sara Feldman, VP of Programs for the STC San Diego chapter. Photo taken by Sara Feldman, VP of Programs for the STC San Diego chapter.

Talk to people. Look for other attendees wearing a “first time” ribbon or veteran attendees and ask them questions. Make new friends. I enjoyed socializing with some attendees at the Pose roof top lounge at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

I also rode the Capital Wheel with another member from our chapter (who I didn’t know before the summit). Sometimes getting out of your element or out of the typical classroom or business setting can make people more comfortable socializing. I learned a lot about the other attendees personally and professionally. It’s also important to balance your learning and your leisure time.


Photo taken by Serena Beck.Photo taken by Serena Beck.

Attend the speed networking event. For this event, we sat at a table with approximately 8 other people. We flipped over an hour glass timer and each person had a minute to talk about himself and his job. I made notes on the back of people’s business cards. Follow up with people afterwards. Add these connections on LinkedIn. Send them messages and share chapter knowledge.


Fill out the summit and speakers surveys right away (while the presentations are still fresh in your mind), or better yet fill them out right after you attend a session.

After the summit is over, continue to socialize and learn from other members and chapters.

Serena Beck has been a technical writer for 13 years and currently writes about blood and plasma hardware and software. She is the president of the STC Canada West Coast chapter.