Hennigan honored with NCRA 2018 CASE Award of Excellence

Chris Willette and Robyn M. Hennigan

NCRA member Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, an instructor at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio, was named 2018 Educator of the Year during a special awards luncheon at NCRA’s Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

NCRA’s CASE (Council on Approved Student Education) Award of Excellence recognizes the important role student education plays in the court reporting profession and honors educators for their dedication and outstanding achievement and leadership. Recipients are nominated by an NCRA member.

“Receiving the CASE Award of Excellence sincerely touches my heart and brings me great joy because it means that my work has positively enriched the lives of others, helping them to succeed; and for that, I am eternally grateful,” Hennigan said. “Professionally, I feel this award certainly reaches the pinnacle; and I hope to remain at this peak for quite some time, always striving for excellence to help others achieve greatness.”

Hennigan, who holds the nationally-recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI), has been in the court reporting profession for 29 years and has served as the director and only full-time faculty member in Clark State’s court reporting program for the past 16 years. She recently worked in conjunction with the faculty at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio, to create a shared degree program between the two schools. She also owns and operates a scoping and proofreading business serving the reporting profession.

At the national level, Hennigan has served as a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors. For the past 12 years, she has also served as a test grader for NCRA and has attended the Association’s Legislative Boot Camp and many of NCRA’s educational events, including the Annual Convention & Expo. She currently serves on several of NCRA’s committees.

Hennigan is also a member of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and she is a past member of its Board of Directors. In 2010, she was recognized by the state association as its Outstanding Associate Member.

Hennigan and her husband, Eric, have two children and four grandchildren.

How to write super fast under stress

A blog posted on Aug. 2, by Kramm Court Reporting, addresses how the points made in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Uncomfortable Practice Habits of a Champion,” about Francesco Molinari’s win at the British Open Golf Championship, can be applied to court reporters and court reporting students.

Read more.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: Six Students Shadow Captioners During HLAA Conference

By Deanna P. Baker

Student captioners at 2018 HLAA

Six students, all from Anoka Technical College, attended the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) conference I was captioning to learn more about the practice of captioning. It was wonderful to get to know this group of students. I had captioned this event for 25 years in a row, and I loved sharing my experience with the students that came out those days.

Since the HLAA conference was held in Minneapolis, Minn., two of the local captioners on the team, Angie Sundell, RMR, CRR, CRC, and Lisa Richardson, RPR, CRR, CRC, who are also on the advisory board of Anoka College, worked with Anoka Tech reporting instructor Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, to invite local students to shadow at the annual HLAA conference. We thought it was a great chance for the students to write some sessions – for their own personal benefit – and see CART captioners and their team at work. And several of them really jumped at the opportunity.

The captioning team for the 2018 HLAA Conference: back row: Megan Stumm, Angie Sundell, Lisa Richardson, Lori Morrow, and Whitney Riley; Front row: Kristi Artzen, Lisa Johnston, Deanna Baker, Lori Yeager Stavropoulos, and Sharon Vivian. (Not pictured: Jayne Carriker)

The captioning team for the 2018 HLAA Conference. Back row: Megan Stumm, Angie Sundell, Lisa Richardson, Lori Morrow, and Whitney Riley; Front row: Kristi Arntzen, Lisa Johnston, Deanna Baker, Lori Yeager Stavropoulos, and Sharon Vivian. (Not pictured: Jayne Carriker)

My thanks go to all of the people on the captioning team who not only rocked the HLAA conference this year but made this a great experience for the students. In addition to myself, Angie, and Lisa, our team consisted of:

  • Kristi Arntzen, RPR, CRR
  • Jayne Carriker, RPR, CRC
  • Lisa B. Johnston, RMR, CRR, CRC
  • Lori Morrow, RMR, CRR, CRC
  • Whitney Riley, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI
  • Lori Yeager Stavropoulos, RPR, CRR, CRC
  • Megan Stumm
  • Sharon K. Vivian, RPR, CRR, CRC
  • Scott Smith, who provided technical support for our CART captioning team

When I reached out to the students after the HLAA conference, I asked them several questions, from why they volunteered to what they expected and what they learned from the day. All of them said that it was a true learning experience, and for several it either reinforced for them why they were working so hard to graduate or it gave them new insight into the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

Here is a little of the experience through their eyes.

Expectations vs. reality

I asked the students what they expected and how the actual experience matched or differed from their expectations.

“I anticipated a lot of stress and not much interaction with the CART provider because of the nature of the job,” said Kaurie Jeske, one of the Anoka students. “That was not the case! Before the job I was introduced to the CART provider, who seemed very happy to let me sit in and learn. Other members of the team providing services elsewhere also came and went before the ceremony started, and I came to understand what a close-knit group of people this group really is. Everyone seemed genuinely excited that students were coming in to shadow them.”

“I was expecting everyone to be talking so fast that I wouldn’t be able to keep up at all, and I was a bit nervous about the whole experience,” said Ryan Judge. “We were told beforehand that nobody was going to be seeing our writing, which helped a lot with the anxiety. When I got there, everyone was so nice that all the leftover jitters faded away.”

“When I got to the convention and started writing, the professional calm that the captioners exuded immediately put me at ease,” said Samantha Robinson. “They assured me that with practice and dedication that I would be able to do this after graduation.”

“It was mostly in line with what I had heard about captioning, except both the ability of the reporter and speed of the dictation she had to write was very impressive,” said Megan Bidney. “I was expecting more drops or paraphrasing, but there was nearly none of that.”

A test of skills

Because the point of the students coming out was to learn more about themselves, I wanted to know what they were going to put into action moving forward. All of them found that the experience reinforced what they already knew they could do, and many of them responded with plans to double their efforts on certain aspects of their training.

“It was a true test of my endurance level,” said Davis Wille, another one of the students. “Seeing firsthand the stresses involved with handling technology at a live event was definitely somewhat anxiety-inducing. I expected this issue might be a deterrent for me wanting to explore the CART field, but watching Lisa and Angie remain calm and level-headed reiterated that it’s simply part of the job. It’s manageable when you’ve had plenty of experience behind you. It’s a field I’d be much more curious to explore now.”

Judge agreed: “I think the biggest thing I am going to do is work on endurance. There were certainly some points where I was getting quite uncomfortable and wanted a break, but you can’t just stop when you’re on the job.”

“I will be focusing on accuracy! I have never been the cleanest writer, but I can read through my blunders,” said Jeske. “Now I am tailoring my practice more to focus on being accurate and getting a lot more out of my practice time.”

“The biggest difference I noticed was that the captioner I worked with would include flourishes such as ‘applause’ and ‘laughter’ to convey the reaction of the audience,” said recent graduate Tom Piltoff.

The big take-away

When I asked what they had learned by attending the convention, the students’ replies were varied.

“That the steno community is huge and welcoming,” said Piltoff. (I think this is my personal favorite, and I’m glad that these six students were able to experience the camaraderie that is part of this profession so early on in their careers.)

“I learned that I need to continue practicing more to be at that level, but also that it is actually possible to write at that level,” said Bidney.

“The most valuable lesson I took away was that it isn’t impossible to keep up with the speaker if I just calm down and focus on writing,” said Judge.

“I heard so many stories from the award presenters and the recipients about the need for these kinds of services,” said Jeske. “I want to be part of something that makes me feel like I’m making a positive impact in the world. This profession definitely does that.”

“The most valuable lesson I took away from the convention was just how thrilled everyone was to see us in attendance and in action,” said Wille. “The attendees were so clearly grateful that I was given an overall boost of confidence in what career path I’ve chosen to enter. It was very exciting.”

“The most valuable thing I took away from this experience is more confidence in myself. I thought it would take me years to get to the point of being able to provide near-flawless captions, but I feel now that I can and will be able to do this sooner than I thought,” said Robinson. “After sitting in with these amazing reporters, I feel like this is exactly what I want to do.”


Deanna P. Baker, RMR, of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Deanna P. Baker, FAPR, RMR, is a realtime captioner and captioning consultant based in Flagstaff, Ariz. She can be reached at dpbaker@mindspring.com.

An unforgettable Convention experience

What will you remember the most about this year’s Convention & Expo? Members of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee continue the conversation about their experiences at past Conventions. What were the most memorable moments? What or who made the most impact on them? Read their stories here, and next year you’ll be sharing your own stories…

Len Sperling

Whitney Berndt

A young woman and a young man stand next to each other smiling

Shaunise Day (left)

Gayl Hardeman

portrait of the author

Kay Moody

Callie Sajdera

Members of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, Callie Sajdera, a student at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., Gayl Hardeman, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, an instructor at Hardeman School (Tampa, Fla.), Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE, an instructor at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., Len Sperling, CRI, an instructor at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Alberta, Canada, Whitney Berndt, a student at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., and Shaunise Day, a student at West Valley College in Oakland, Calif., offer their thoughts and advice for attending Convention.

JCR | What has been one of the best seminars or workshops you have ever attended at an NCRA Convention?

Callie | The best seminar I went to was with Margie Wakeman Wells at the Convention in Chicago, Ill. I was just out of Theory and learning the ropes of English and grammar. This was beneficial to me as a student who was just starting out, and she made it a lot of fun!

Gayl | Ed Varallo’s session on Notereading in 1973 in Seattle, Wash. I ended up training all of our typists and wrote a textbook on the subject two years later: Notereading: Twelve Weeks to a Career, as Gayl Hardeman Knaus (former married name).

Kay | They were all excellent. I always left a Convention “brain dead” with so much information and new ideas. I particularly enjoyed the initial seminars on technology when reporters were first learning about Computer Aided Transcription, CAT. There was always new knowledge or products for reporters, and there was so much to learn! I realized many years ago — we never stop learning — never!

Len | I remember attending a workshop on broadcast captioning. The session showed the importance of realtime in general, and the significant impact it would have on our industry’s future.

Whitney | I think my favorite seminar last year was the steno speed dating. It gave me such insight into all the amazing opportunities this career has to offer. I never knew some of those career paths existed.

Shaunise | I will never forget the seminar held in San Francisco, Calif., led by Clay Frazier and Kensie Benoit. I will always talk about this session and it should be a staple seminar that we continue to recycle as new students attend NCRA Conventions annually. Kensie and Clay presented on what you don’t normally learn in school. They put together a stellar presentation that focused on the importance of knowing your software, resume building, taxes, getting jobs, social media, and so much more. I hope we can continue to produce sessions that will focus on the steps a new reporter should take when it’s time to step foot in the real world of reporting.


JCR | Did you ever meet anyone at Convention who had a significant impact on your life or your career?

Callie | Yes. I met my mentor at the Chicago Convention two years ago. Her name is Anne Bowline from Casper, Wyo. She was on the Board at the time, and my director, Jennifer Sati, introduced her to me. She has been one of the greatest support systems that I have had throughout school, and she’s set an example for me as a professional and a future mentor.

Gayl | See above. I later married Ed Varallo, and he’s the one who got me interested in CART, which I’ve now done for 26 years.

Kay | Yes, not one, but many had a significant impact on my life and my school. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, many of the schools were owned by women and these brilliant women became my dearest friends. We shared materials, ideas, teaching techniques, visited their schools, etc., and have remained close friends throughout the years. Probably the only name students would recognize today would be my dear friend, Lillian Morson.

Len | There are too many to count. Most of these individuals are mostly educators who I have learned from and who have inspired me. I like to call them friends and feel I could call upon them at any time.

Whitney | At the Convention last summer, I met our current President-Elect, Sue Terry. Sue was so willing to express to me her love of this career and share some of the amazing experiences she has had. She was so sweet and inspired me to work hard to hopefully be given similar, incredible opportunities.

Shaunise | I have established countless relationships that will last a lifetime. I give thanks to NCRA for allowing me to develop these relationships. I remember during the lunch break at my first Convention, I didn’t have any plans for lunch. This was an awkward moment for me. I wasn’t the type at the time to even think about having lunch by myself in a restaurant. I decided I would grab something to eat and go sit in my car for the lunch break. I was so nervous once lunch time approached. Just as I was walking out of the hotel, I received a text from Charisse Kitt (If you are a student reading this, make sure your student badge is showing. Veteran reporters will embrace you once they see that you are a student), and she asked me if I wanted to have lunch with a group of reporters. The joy and happiness from that text made my entire weekend.


Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!

Firm owners fill student swag bags

Firm owners are once again answering the call to ensure that students who attend the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. in August, get a little something extra.

Last year, firm owners generously donated special drawstring bags, flash drives, ear buds, USB cables, highlighters, candy, and more. In addition to the exciting experience of attending a national Convention, and the opportunity to network with the top professionals in their field, students walked away with a bag full of Las Vegas swag.

This past February, another request went out to firm owners for donations to fill special bags to give out to students during their orientation at this year’s Convention. The response was very positive and the bags are filling up.

The Student/Teacher Committee would like to thank the following donors who have already volunteered to contribute to this year’s student swag bags:

  • Alaris
  • Benchmark Reporting Agency
  • Doris. O. Wong & Associates, Inc.
  • Hanson Renaissance Reporting & Video
  • Jack W. Hunt & Associates
  • Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE
  • LNS Court Reporting & Legal Video
  • Memory Reporting, Inc.
  • O’Brien & Levine
  • OrangeLegal
  • Planet Depos
  • Rider & Associates, Inc.
  • Schmitt Reporting & Video, Inc.
  • Streski Reporting & Video Service
  • Summit City Reporting
  • U.S. Legal Support
  • West Coast Court Reporting & Video
  • Wood & Randall
  • YOM

More donations are always welcome. For questions, or to donate, contact Ellen Goff.

Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!

My secret to passing the RPR

by Celeste Poppe

Celeste Poppe

I started taking the legs of the RPR in November, 2016 and achieved my RPR in April, 2017. I started with the hardest leg first and worked my way down: 225 Testimony, followed by the 200 Jury Charge, then the 180 Literary, and finally the WKT, passing each leg on my first attempt. During this time period, I also took the California CSR, which is 200 wpm, four-voice. Taking some of the legs of the RPR before taking my state CSR was hands down the best decision I made in my testing journey for two reasons. One, I passed the 225 Testimony and the 200 Jury Charge legs before going into the January California CSR, which really boosted my confidence. I remember thinking during the test, “If I can pass a 225, I can pass this.” Two, it helped my nerves because then my state exam was “just another test.”

While practicing for my tests, I only used one method, which was created by my dear friend (and “big sister”) Monyeen Black, Past President of the Deposition Reporters Association of California. We call it Mo’s Speedbuilding Method, MSBM for short.

All you need is Windows Media Player and a desire to reach 200 wpm. Here’s how it works:

  • In Windows Media Player, you are going to adjust the play speed settings. When you open Windows Media Player, right click anywhere in the box, select “Enhancements,” then click “Play Speed Settings.” Adjust the play speed setting to 0.9 to make it 180 wpm.
  • Write the dictation for one minute. Analyze your steno for any briefs you might want to create or have but maybe have forgotten. Write those down in your notebook and work on those during each take.
  • Go back into “Play Speed Settings” and adjust the setting back to 1.0, making it a 200 wpm. Write that SAME 1-minute take again, only now at 200 wpm.
  • Now adjust the speed setting to 1.1 (220 wpm), write; adjust to 1.2 (240 wpm), write; adjust to 1.3 (260 wpm), write; adjust back down to 1.1 (220 wpm) and try to NAIL IT! You want to nail a 220 wpm if your goal speed is 200 wpm.
  • When you are going 240 and 260, drop the punctuation, write slop, and just get something down for everything.

To recap: Take EACH 1-minute increment of a five-minute dictation at 180, 200, 220, 240, 260, and 280. Once you have finished this five times, then do the entire five minutes at 220, a notch above your goal speed. Doing this entire method only takes 35 minutes to complete. The best part about this method is that you can do it with any five-minute dictation and be at any speed in school.

So there you have it! That’s how I passed the RPR. I wholeheartedly believe that this method is so beneficial to building speed and overall improving your writing. Now get out there and go pass some tests!

Celeste attended Bryan University online, and graduated in October, 2016. She received her RPR in April, 2017 and her California CSR in March, 2017. She is currently working for the Los Angeles Superior Court as a floater.

Setting goals

By Kay Moody

portrait of the author

Kay Moody

Setting realistic, tangible goals is an essential element of completing court reporting school and developing the speed and accuracy needed to work as a reporter. When you take timed writings and read your notes, identify your weaknesses. Once you know the major reason you’re not progressing, set a goal to eliminate the problem(s) and work on them every day for five, ten, or fifteen minutes. Work on the same goal until it’s no longer a weakness. Work on drills and dictation takes until the weakness no longer exists. This article lists the five major reasons students do not progress and ways to eliminate or correct these hindrances: lagging behind and dropping words; messy notes; hesitating or missing briefs, phrases, and/or conflicts; difficult outlines or unfamiliar vocabulary; and not finding enough time to practice.

Goal of eliminating drops

When you work on speedbuilding, don’t make corrections with the asterisk (*). Leave the misstroke in your notes. Write the entire take, read back your notes, and count how many words you dropped, not the misstrokes. Take the same selection two or three times a day and focus on one thing: staying with the dictation and writing every word. Read back each take, and count the drops to make sure that you have fewer and fewer drops on each take. Continue taking the selection two or three times every day until you write the entire selection with no drops. Once you accomplish this, go on to another selection at the same speed. After you can write your goal speed repeatedly with no drops, go to a higher speed.

Please note that working on speed is different from working on accuracy for realtime, perfect translation. That is why you are discouraged from making corrections while working on speed.

Goal of writing clean notes

Drop down to a lower speed and write with the goal that 99 percent of your outlines will be perfect. Write slower dictation from something you recorded, and count all your misstrokes. Drill on writing the correct outlines for all misstroked words, repeat the selection, and use the same technique described for eliminating drops.

An excellent way to clean notes is to work from straight copy. Write an article from your textbook or the newspaper and write it at your natural speed without a single misstroke.

Goal of learning briefs, phrases, and conflicts

Instead of saying, “I’m going to learn all of the briefs in my brief book,” set an attainable, measurable goal. “I’m going to review briefs every day, and I’m going to go over one column (or 25 outlines) every day for ten or fifteen minutes until I can automatically write every outline.” This is an easily attainable goal.  When you’ve mastered that group with perfect outlines, tackle a new list or column.

Goal of being able to write difficult words and outlines

Similar to learning briefs, phrases, and conflicts, every time you hear a difficult outline or a word you’ve forgotten how to write, jot it on a sticky note, and write that word with its shorthand outline in your notebook. Practice a column from this list for five, ten, or fifteen minutes every day. This is an ongoing goal and something you’re encouraged to do throughout your court reporting skill development.

Goal of practicing more

Prepare a time management schedule, and make sure you have allowed sufficient time for practice. Establish time to work on word lists, steno outlines, drills, and other skill- and speedbuilding activities. Make a checklist, and check off all the activities that you accomplish each day. You must be disciplined! Identify your short-term, daily goals and work on them at specific times every day, at least six days a week.

To summarize the elements of goal setting:

  • Set a goal every time you sit at your machine, whether it is in class or a short practice session.
  • Develop goals that eliminate weaknesses, that develop strengths, and that are small.
  • Create goals that are positive, measurable, and specific.
  • Reward yourself when you succeed in reaching a goal.

Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE, is an instructor for the College of Court Reporting based in Valparaiso, Ind.


Summer fun (and work)!

Last month, we asked students to write to Up-to-Speed to let us know how they plan to spend their summer. All of them are taking classes full-time. Several are going to keep up with their practice. Some intend to work hard to reach their certifications. And most of them plan on making time for fun.

Corree Brooks, College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind.
I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest so I will definitely be on the water any free time I have between work and school. I’m hoping to get a new paddle board this summer.

Donna Capalongo, College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind.
I live near the New Jersey shore, so I plan to spend time at the beach with good friends between steno practice. May also do a little traveling. This is a second career for me, so I am very anxious to get to work as a court reporter.

Taneshia Crockett, Steno Train online
One of the fun things I plan to do is attend the Florida Court Reporters Convention. Later on in the summer, I plan to take the kids to Orlando to have some fun at one of the Universal Parks. I will continue to practice at least five days per week. I can’t stop, won’t stop until I get to the finish line.

Amanda Hernandez, Tri-Community Adult Education, Covina, Calif.
This summer I plan on going skydiving again and running a nighttime 5K fun run.

Tresia Jackson, Brown College of Court Reporting, Atlanta, Ga.
Find a part-time job transcribing notes.

Sydney Lundberg, Des Moines Area Community College, Newton, Iowa
This summer I plan on becoming certified and starting to work as a reporter! I also plan on building my dictionaries, which I find to be fun.

Kimberly Northrup, SimplySteno online
NCRA conference in New Orleans: I can’t wait!

Abby Skiles, Neosho County Community College, Chanute, Kan.
The most exciting thing I could think of doing this summer is passing my tests at 140 wpm! As a young student living on my own, I do work a lot. My biggest challenge so far has been staying dedicated to practicing. After attending the Kansas Court Reporters Association’s convention last weekend, I got to meet with some reporters who gave me great advice and I am feeling more motivated now than ever!

Jamee Smith, Neosho County Community College, Chanute, Kan.
Continue my studies to improve speed and memorize my theory. Play with my kids and enjoy the weather.

Macy Thompson, College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind.
My husband and I usually go on vacation every summer, and this year we have canceled our out-of-state vacation plans so I can really focus on building speed, learning all about the RPR certification process, begin an internship, and hopefully have the confidence to begin the RPR certification process by the fall.


Three Conventions and Counting…

Michelle Myott

Michelle Myott attends South Coast College in Orange, Calif., and has been a student member of NCRA since 2015. This year she will be attending her third NCRA Annual Convention & Expo. She hopes to graduate before her fourth.

UTS | What is it like to be a student at Convention?
Myott | Attending the Convention the last two years has been so encouraging to me. After last year, I went home feeling so positive and motivated and I passed my next speed within two weeks. The average person doesn’t understand what court reporting school is like. From going to the Conventions I have met some other students who I still am in contact with, who I can talk to about how school is going, and we help each other out. You will meet working professionals from your own state as well as from all around the United States.

UTS| Have you been able to network with other reporters in the field?
Myott | My aunt, who is a court reporter and my mentor, got me involved with NCRA. As a student, it is so nice to know someone to help you get involved and help you meet other working professionals as well as other students.

UTS | What is the best way to connect or make friends with other students at Convention?
Myott | It is important to get connected with other students at the Convention. I have stayed connected to other students through social media. We all have the same struggles in school and we need to support each other.

UTS | What was your favorite student seminar at Convention and why?
Myott | You will also attend seminars that touch on some very relevant topics in the court reporting world. I highly encourage other students to get involved as much as possible. My favorite seminar at the Convention was the “mock trial.” We got to see how it would go from the court reporter’s perspective. The reporter would stop and explain how to handle each situation that came up, and we got to hear how other reporters would handle the same situations.

UTS | Anything else you would like to share about Convention?
Myott | There are always amazing motivational speakers and, I feel that every student needs to hear these every so often to help get through school. I have learned so much from attending these Conventions and met some really great people. Every year I leave the Convention with a new excitement for this career that I will be starting.


Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!

Networking advice for students

Cuyahoga Community College’s (Parma, Ohio) Captioning and Court Reporting Club President, Todd Robie, held a “How to Network at a Conference” seminar on April 3 for all students in the program. Both on-campus and online students were invited to participate. Robie gave valuable pointers for small- to mid-sized conventions and events. As he pointed out, these are your future colleagues and people you may have the opportunity to work with or for in the future. Make it your goal to start building your network!

Here are a few tips and tricks to review and take along with you to a conference you may be attending:

  1. What’s the best thing to get out of a conference? Connections! You want them to remember you and you to remember them.
  2. Everyone expects to meet new people at a conference and to talk with them.
  3. Wear your nametag! It can be a conversation starter in itself.
  4. Remember, folks are especially receptive to students so take advantage of that while you can.
  5. Take the initiative, as that sets you apart from others right from the start.
  6. Start out in a group if you are nervous and then branch out individually.
  7. You are terrific! Keep that in mind because it takes a terrific person to take on the challenge of this career and you have a lot to add to the profession.
  8. Start by preparing and having two basic introductions in mind along with two questions to start conversations. One intro should be a quick one and the second should be two or three sentences. Good news – you can use the same ones over and over again!
  9. Remember, the goal is to turn that conversation into a networking opportunity.
  10. Check out the layout/floor plan of the convention in advance. Common areas are the best places to network.
  11. Take the time to review the schedule and circle potential networking opportunities. Most of your connections will be made outside the sessions in such places as food lines, coffee and drink stations, and breaks.
  12. Do a little research on who is attending the convention and who you would like to meet. Make a list of them.
  13. Keep a file of any business cards you receive and ask them if you can contact them with any additional questions you might have as you continue on your journey as a student.
  14. Take the time to write down what you talked about with the individuals you’ve spoken with.
  15. Of course, dress appropriately.
  16. Feel free to send the people you meet a thank-you email.
  17. Most importantly, enjoy yourself and all those you meet!
  18. So go ahead and join your state and national organizations and make your plans to attend these conventions and conferences!

Don’t miss your chance to save on 2018 Convention registration fees. Register by July 23 to save!