By Garth Jones
As many of you may know, I go to a few conferences each year and I’ve been doing so for over 15 years. From my travels I’ve compiled several tips that allow me to survive IT conferences. With that in mind, I wrote this survival guide to Microsoft Ignite for attendees. It’s broken down into a few sections, so I hope it will help you get the most out of Microsoft Ignite 2017.
Before You Leave Survival Guide
Preparing before you leave for Microsoft Ignite will help you make the most of your time.
-Make sure that you have good, comfortable shoes!
-Traveling can be tiring, so try to arrive at least one day before the conference.
-Review the session list and book yourself into the key sessions NOW!
-Remember that many sessions are recorded, so you can watch them after the event. If you aren’t going to attend the session in person, then make sure that you actually watch the session after the conference.
-If there are two or more of you going to Microsoft Ignite from your company then make sure that you go to different sessions.
-Be prepared to walk a TON!! I mean a ton! If, like me, you wear a Fitbit, you’ll easily get to 10,000 steps every day without even trying!
-Start writing a list of questions and/or problems (NOW!) that you are looking to solve or get answered at Microsoft Ignite. If it makes sense, review the list with your boss. They may have a few more questions or solutions that they want you to look for at the conference.
-Review the vendor list and note who you want to see in the Expo Hall. Consider booking a meeting with their team now instead of waiting until you are at Microsoft Ignite.
-Remember to earmark some time to explore the Expo Hall. You might be surprised at what you find!
Survival Guide to Microsoft Ignite
During the conference make sure to pace yourself, so you don’t burn out.
-Again, wear good, comfortable shoes. I seriously can’t stress this one enough! Your feet and back will thank you!
-Drink lots of water!
-Eat a good breakfast.
-Try to avoid bringing your laptop to the conference center. Leave it in your hotel room, if possible. After carrying your laptop around all day, you’ll find that it seems bigger and heavier than you remembered! If you absolutely must bring it with you, then I’d suggest bringing a roller bag, but pulling a roller bag around will make your walk through the conference center difficult!
-Remember each day is LONG, so pace yourself. There is absolutely no way you can see everything!
-Talk to fellow attendees. Good times are during lunch or at social events. Believe me when I say that some of the BEST information that you will get is from your peers!
-Each day before heading out to the conference center or Expo Hall, review your list of problems. Why? Discussing your problems with other attendees, the Microsoft teams, vendors or MVPs may provide you with helpful solutions. I’m always surprised by the number of times this has happened to me!
-Take some time to visit the Expo Hall. You never know what you will find that may end up helping you out!
-Remember that the Expo Hall has more than just vendors. Microsoft teams are there to answer your questions!
-Get a good night’s sleep each day.
-If you are with a group of people, pick a meeting spot that has chairs!
-Plan on the internet in the conference center being bad. Have a backup! Use Twitter and/or text messaging to communicate with others.
Survival Guide for after Microsoft Ignite
You’re not out of the woods yet, but you are almost home!
-Take a day or two to slow down.
-Look for the PowerShell script that will allow you to download all of the sessions as MP4s. If you have a long flight, you can watch a few of the sessions on the plane!
-Review your notes and write a trip report as soon as possible after the event.
-Take the time to follow-up with vendors that you are truly interested in learning more about.
I hope you found this Survival Guide to Microsoft Ignite useful! I would love to hear what you think, so since I will be in the Enhansoft booth (1246) during the conference, I will be watching your tweets before, during and afterward!