Bring Comfortable Shoes -- and More than One Pair!There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and that you’re going to walk more than ever before at TechEd. The convention center in New Orleans is H U G E! Sessions can be spread all over – and that means lots (and lots) of walking. So, make sure you bring comfortable pairs of shoes (that’s right, shoes – as in more than one pair). And if you’re an exhibitor, think about adding an extra shoe sole, something really thick and comfy. Nice leather shoes look great with a suit, but man, they aren’t comfortable – and neither is the concrete floor!
Plan AheadIn order to avoid any extra stress, make a list of the courses you’d like to take, which conferences you’d like to attend, what product you’d like to get your hands on in the Exhibit Hall, and who you want to meet. There’s a lot going on during the 4-day conference, and it’s easy to miss out on stuff. So be prepared and come with a plan in order to get the most out of your journey. You can start by visiting TechEd’s website for a list of all the events.
Spot the Best SwagIt’s a tradition at TechEd to get cool gifts from vendors in the Exhibitor Hall, especially the first night when it’s a bit like a circus in there. So, be sure to keep extra space in your luggage so that you can bring back all of your cool swag and lots of t-shirts. You can even win prizes if you are spotted wearing a vendor’s t-shirt or hat. Spot the coolest gifts and take some time to enter some really great contests (last year, one of the prizes was a motorcycle!). Plus, make sure to visit the Devolutions’ booth some really cool swag!
Be ready to fryOk, so this one might be more obvious, but still caught me by surprise last year in Orlando. I mean, it’s hot here in Montreal during the summer, but it’s nothing like the heat and humidity they experience down south. Expect 90°F+ temperatures with 80% humidity and afternoon showers that can turn into thunderstorms in a matter of seconds (you should have seen our faces last year at Universal Studio during a massive thunderstorm!). However, on the positive side, temperature usually dips about 10 degrees after the storm…for about half an hour, and then it climbs back up again!
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
I know I may sound like your mother (by the way, did you make your bed this morning?), and I have to admit that there are some really great parties during TechEd (visit The Krewe’s website for all the parties and events), but there are really long days during TechEd, and you need to keep the energy level high. Microsoft will do its part by providing you with plenty of snacks, drinks and rest areas to keep you on top of your game, but make sure to get some good hours of sleep during the week.
Enjoy the Closing Attendee Party!
Without a doubt, the most popular event of the week is the Closing Attendee Party! It’s an unforgettable night for party goers. Last year in Orlando, Microsoft reserved the entire Universal Studios amusement park and offered free rides, free food and – yes, the most glorious of all gifts: free beer! This year in New Orleans, Microsoft has organized an "incredible night" at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where you'll be able to attempt field goals, try some quarterback passes, enjoy live bands and music and dance your way into the night!
Network, Learn, Discover and Have Fun!
So, whether it’s your first time or you’re a long-time attendee, TechEd is truly the premiere event for IT professionals and enterprise developers. Get ready to learn plenty of new stuff and have more fun than you can imagine. Also remember that TechEd is the perfect opportunity to do some networking, so bring plenty of business cards and don’t be shy to talk to other attendees, booth staff and speakers.
And of course, be sure to drop by our booth and say hello. We’ll gladly chat with you about our products, invite you to tell us what we can do to make your life easier and more efficient – and hey, you’ll even get a special gift.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any tips? Feel free to share them with your peers in the comment box below.