Networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. And what better way to network than with your peers at the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 happening Aug. 7-9.
Special networking parties are planned for Saturday, Aug. 8 from 6- 6:45 p.m. (Eastern) for captioners, legal videographers, freelancers, new professionals, officials, and students and teachers. These special networking sessions are being led by a number of NCRA committee chairs and are aimed at helping members mingle, make new connections, gain fresh ideas, garner career advice and support, build confidence, and gain a different perspective. Networking has even been known to lead to new job opportunities.
“Nowadays, it’s more important than ever to be able to connect with your colleagues and friends,” said Mike Hensley, RDR, a freelance court reporter from Dublin, Calif., and chair of NCRA’s New Professionals Advisory Committee. Hensley, who also serves as chair of NCRA’s Education Content Committee, will host the New Professionals Networking Party.
“If you’re new to the profession of court reporting, you need to join this social event,” Hensley said. “We want to get to know you and share a few laughs and insights. We’ll be discussing what new talents we’ve discovered during quarantine, along with any new hobbies we’ve picked up, and any recipes we’ve discovered. But that’s just for starters. Goodness knows that when you get two or more court reporters together at the same time, they have lots to talk about!”
Along with the valuable information you can receive from attending an NCRA event, Hensley said the other vital piece of the experience is networking and social interaction.
“Are you new to the profession? Well, then you definitely want to join the New Professionals Advisory Committee for the social event just for you! If you’ve ever been around me, you know there’s never a dull moment. We plan to have a lively chit-chat about anything and everything,” Hensley said. “Did you make banana bread during quarantine? So did we! We’ll be talking about recipes we’ve tried, hobbies we’ve started or resumed, and new talents we’ve discovered. And we may even bust out a good game of Scattergories or Yahtzee! It’s sure to be a blast. We’re excited to see you there!”
Other networking party hosts said they plan to open the conversation with something funny and to also encourage attendees in their session to bring up whatever topics they feel are important and timely.
“Grimm’s Household Tales (what services/apps have participants used for remote dep work like Zoom, WebEx, etc., pros-cons), difficulty seeing/hearing, handling exhibits, taking transcript orders, billing anomalies (to charge appearance fees or not to charge appearance fees or anything different — without discussion of amounts, of course),” is her stream of consciousness at the moment according to Judy Lehman, FAPR, RMR, CRI, an official court reporter from Shelbyville, Ill., and 2020-2021 Chair of NCRA’s Contests Committee who will co-host the Freelancers Networking Party. Lehman will be joined by co-host Donna Karoscik, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and captioner from Lancaster, Ohio, who will serve as co-chair of the Contests Committee.
Other topics Lehman said would make for good discussion include The CARES Act — next steps, PPP and EIDL — suggestions for handling stress, and ways to save money to offset diminished earnings and extra fees for some services.
Karoscik said she might consider an icebreaker that encourages sharing stories about depositions during COVID-19. For example, she said, “I did one during a storm and our power went out three times during the depo, just flickering off for 2-3 seconds, but obviously long enough to turn the router off and lose the Zoom connection.”
Co-hosting the Officials Networking Party will be NCRA members Doug Zweizig, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official from Baltimore, Md., who serves on NCRA’s Education Content Committee, and Kimberly Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI, an official court reporter from Arlington, Texas.
“To get the conversation started? Knowing myself, something about these strange times we’re living in, something hopefully funny to break the ice,” Zweizig said. “Games? I hadn’t thought of it. Maybe a steno swap. Pandemic briefs, maybe. Maybe talking about any funny stories people have had happen on virtual hearings (provided this is not recorded, that is),” he added.
“The biggest benefit right now to networking, I would say, is just chatting with colleagues from all over and making each other laugh,” Zweizig said. “I truly feel laughter is the best medicine (to a degree, of course). Understanding someone else is going through something similar to you at the moment I think is priceless.”
Full registration to the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 includes access to all three days of activities, including all non-CEU activities and 16 CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice for a total of 1.6 CEU credits and costs $325 for members. A half registration package is also available that includes access to all three days for all non-CEU activities and seven CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice for a cost of $200 for members. The special rates for students are $60 for members. See the complete schedule of sessions, including networking opportunities, exhibitor showcases, the virtual vendor hall, and registration costs for nonmembers, at NCRA.org. Remember, sessions will be available to view through midnight Aug. 25 after the event so you won’t have to worry about missing a minute of this virtual experience.