The Unofficial tekom tcworld Conference Guide for Newbies Techcomm Pros

7 min read /
Is your strategy for the tekom/tcworld Conference dialed in and ready to roll? Since tekom is the world’s largest technical communication summit, qualification event, and trade fair, your plan is worth a bit of thought. And as you’ll soon learn, the event has several traits that make it particularly German in character: it's well organized, business driven, and has a strong focus on factual content. We hope we can make it a more enjoyable experience for you, with our unofficially-definitive tekom/tcworld Conference Guide featuring six pro tips from guest blogger and tekom veteran Martin Häberle.

Tip #1 – Dress How You Like, but Wear Comfortable Shoes

At the tekom Jahrestagung / tcworld Conference, there’s no dress code, but maybe you’ll notice that many conference attendees are dressed surprisingly formal. You’ll probably see many ties and white collars. Wearing a t-shirt is totally acceptable though—at least if it’s a cool one that you’ve grabbed from K15t Software in hall C2 at booth 2E01.

However, don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes. When walking through the numerous trade show aisles, conference room hallways, and stairways, your feet will surely be grateful. . .

Tip #2 – Bring Mobile Devices (+ Laptop) and Tweet with Us

Attending this conference is great, but it’s even better having a smartphone or tablet with you. Join the #tcworld15 and/or #tekom15 hashtag conversation on Twitter to get updates, quotes, recommendations and even more fun. 

On your first conference day, try to carry a laptop. Why? Along with a name badge each conference attendee receives a USB stick with a digital conference transcript and a detailed article on each session. You can then send this ebook to your mobile device, and you'll get instant access to all the information for the rest of your time at the conference.

Tip #3 – Choose the Best Sessions Systematically

Tekom is jam packed with talks, panels, and tool presentations, and it's not uncommon for the most interesting things to take place at exactly the same time. To choose the best session in a systematic (i.e. German) way:

  • Check out the conference transcript (see tip #2) that contains a comprehensive guide to all conference contents. It often gives a good impression of what the presentation will be like (structured, well-visualized or puristic, detailed or vague, etc). Many articles are even extensive enough to read instead of attending the session.
  • If you're still in doubt on which talk to attend, go for the presentation with the more advanced experience level to make sure that you'll hear more than just the basics (unless you’re an actual newbie on a topic of course).
  • Don't miss the K15t talks! There are two:
    • Tool Presentation: "Technical Communication with Scroll Add-ons for Confluence" - Room C10.2, Wednesday, 12:15–13:00
    • Talk "DocOps – Agile Content Development in Practice" - Room C7.3, Thursday, 9:45–10:30

Tip #4 – Reserve your Lunch Time Spot

When on vacation, Germans are notorious for being pool chair reservers—by placing their towels very early. During lunch time at tekom/tcworld, similar scenes might happen. The best strategy for getting an ideal seat is to join the lunch queue quite early (or come very late), and to respect the 'tradition,' maybe by bringing a towel or anything else that's suitable to reserve a seat 'German-style' (wink wink).

Tip #5 – Reach Out to Others and Visit Booths Far and Wide

The tekom/tcworld Conference is intended to be a social event. You should feel free to approach any fellow conference or trade fair attendee (even those wearing ties), or the booth staff, for a chat. Most attendees speak excellent English (and German), and are looking for inspiring conversations—but are perhaps just a bit too shy to start chatting.

Don't miss out on visiting the more remote parts of the trade fair halls and meeting friendly exhibitors from exotic countries. They will be delighted to chat, and you might also be awarded with some fancy gifts, tasty food, or drinks. Pro Tip: The chance to win a tablet can be quite good for trade fair visitors (a friend has won an iPad for two years in a row). This is just one of many good reasons to bring lots of business cards!

Tip #6 – Avoid Dehydrating with Water and Coffee (and Free Beer!)

Water (still or sparkling/soda) and coffee is available for free on these spots (marked with a coffee cup) throughout the conference area and all trade fair halls. Try to make it a habit to keep your body properly topped up with water and/or coffee between each session to help keep the mind sharp and focused.

Conference coffee usually doesn’t have a great reputation, but in Stuttgart, it's actually not too bad. That's probably why last year a total of 4,100 participants and trade fair visitors drank a staggering 3,792 liters! Step it up with a visit to our booth in hall C2, spot 2E01, and get an excellent freshly-brewed cup of espresso. Stick around to hear why we believe that collaborative authoring is the future of technical communication.

And don’t forget to stay for the big Welcome Party on Tuesday at 6pm with free beer from K15t Software, the sponsor of the Welcome event. See you there for smiles, glass-clinking, and lots of practice saying „Prost!“ All are invited to attend the Welcome Party, simply email with your request.

K15t Software is excited to see you in Stuttgart

Join K15t in hall C2 at booth 2E01 for:

  • Information and demos showing how Atlassian's Confluence with Scroll Add-ons makes the perfect collaborative technical documentation toolset
  • Sweet K15t-shirts, stickers, and other goodies
  • A survey invitation (with results shared post-conference) to help you and us understand how modern technical documentation pros do their work

Share a toast on Tuesday night:

And don't miss K15t's talks:

Have you attended tekom/tcworld before? Do you have any questions or additional tips to share? Leave a comment below, or drop us an email: