Small turnout at last night’s meeting due to (much needed) rain and a major accident on I-285. I suspect many of our usual attendees simply gave up. Despite that, we had a good discussion of the conference. A couple of visitors came who were interested in getting into the field. It was a cozier atmosphere than our larger meetings.
Robert did a good job posing questions to the six panelists. Everyone had a lot to say about the conference, including the two first-time attendees, Dorothy and Howard. By the way, Robert won a prize for guessing the exact number of registrants. He told me the number last night, but I forgot. It was around 1400 (up from recent years).
Some complaints were that the conference program came out very late making it hard to plan what sessions to attend. Also, many sessions were overcrowded, excluding some altogether, and making it uncomfortable for those who managed to squeeze in at the last minute. Mike Hughes pointed out that many conferences poll registrants ahead of time to get a sense of which sessions will be the most popular, then plan accordingly.
Another complaint was that we still have not received a conference evaluation. It’s easier to give feedback within a couple of weeks of the event. There’s no reason why a conference evaluation can’t be prepared well ahead of time. The list of attendees and the conference proceedings just came out. (I guess this answers my question posed yesterday about the problems with conference organization.)
Overall, the feedback was positive. Jean-Luc Doumont of Principae was cited by several as the best speaker at the conference. Materials from his session, “Road Signs: Making Your Way in the Visual World” and “Effective Layout for the Non-Artist” are available at the links posted here. We’re in discussions with Jean-Luc about presenting at our Currents conference here in Atlanta in March. Stay tuned.
Another popular session was Scott Abel’s “Web 2.0: Understanding the Semantic Web and It’s Impact on Technical Communication.” The link here is to his slides.
Jane Wilson and I enjoyed Karen Schriver’s sessions. I will blog about those soon.
Most of us felt that the networking was as much a benefit of the conference as the formal sessions. I pointed out that you have to work at networking at a large conference; it doesn’t just happen. Sometimes it’s possible to shoot an e-mail to a member you’ve corresponded with on a listserve and set up a lunch meeting ahead time. Chris McRae said that he likes to collect the e-mail addresses of people he meets in case he needs a quick answer to a vexing problem or simply wants to bounce an idea off of some peers.
We finished up with a brief discussion of the 2009 STC conference in Atlanta. Our responsibilities as a chapter are minimal, but the opportunities are huge. We plan to set up a task force to set some goals. Anyone who is interested should contact Al Hood. Or post a comment here and I’ll get in touch with you.
Appropriately, our door prizes last night included some of the swag Robert had collected at the conference Exposition.