When you enter the TechEd conference area, you’ll get sucked in. Big time. You’ll be running from session to session to lunch to session and so on. Before you know it the day will be over. After 4 or 5 of those days, the conference is over. And you’ll wonder if you got the most out of it. So, here’s how to be like a boyscout: be prepared.
In this first entry on your preparation, I will focus on how to get ready for the sessions. Because once you are in a session it’s hard to do the preparing from there.
To start of, check out the sessions that are available. There’s a session search tool available that allows you to filter through the sessions. Use it to get the sessions that you are definitely interested in and make sure that you check your favorite topics and speakers. Especially the latter is often forgotten. If you happen to like a certain speaker, get a list of his or her sessions. This relatively small list will be your starting point.
At the moment that the real schedule with time slots is available you can start picking the sessions you want to visit. Do not settle for a single session per timeslot. You need to have backup options in case of a session being full.
It is important to pick your sessions in advance. During the breaks in between sessions you will be tempted to doubt your selection. Do not get too distracted by that. You have thought well about the onces you chose. If you really feel you need to pick another you can. But do not let the chaos get the better of you.
There might be timeslots that have nothing interesting for you. These slots are ideal to:
- take a well-deserved break
- visit the Hands-on-Lab area and start on one of the available labs and play a little with the technology and products you just learned about
- go to the Microsoft pavilion and get some nice information and conversations there
- enter the exhibitors area and take a look at interesting products and vendors (although you will probably be spending a lot of time here during the entire conference 😉
- meet up with friends and go for a drink (yes, these are free during TechEd, so even the cheapskates can “buy” a round of drinks)
More tips on your preparation to follow. Next up: stuff to bring along with you