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Making the most of convention

The first time I stepped into an NCRA National Convention exhibit hall was in 2008 in Anaheim, Calif. I was completely overwhelmed by all the court reporting action that was going on. I remember on the plane home, my brain was so full of new information and new friends I could barely read or even rest.

I highly recommend you go to a national convention if you’ve never done so. If it’s your first time, here are some tips.

These first three tips are for nerds like me who like things to be written down and listed.

Convention can be like going to a grocery store. Look through the convention brochure and make a list — yes, a list — of information you want. While you’re at the convention, take copious notes, and review them a bit at a time after you get home.

Make a list of books and products you want to buy, because you’ll score good deals — especially if you hit up the booths before they close on Saturday!

Make a list of people you want to meet. The heroes you look up to are actual people. Talk to them and pick their brains if you have the opportunity. Mingle like crazy.

Go to all the sessions no matter how hungover you are.

Go to the Saturday night party and hang out with your new friends. There will be drunk people there. Try not to be one of them. We’re all Facebook friends now, and pictures have a way of getting uploaded and tagged. It can take a while to live down. No, I’m not going to name names … but I could.

The Sunday morning sessions will be filled with everyone’s luggage. You may bring yours too. It makes for a good footrest.

Bring your smartphone or notebook computer and start building your online network right there!

Follow up with your new friends a few weeks afterwards.


Kathryn “Stenoray” Thomas, RDR, CRR, CCP, is a CART provider in Caseyville, Ill. This article was originally posted on her website,, and is reprinted here with permission.