Attending Microsoft Ignite 2018 for the first time? Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve collected from having attended (and spoken at) all the past Microsoft Ignites (2015-2017).
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will do a LOT of walking.
- Double or triple book your session schedule. If a room is full, know the alternatives: Find an overflow viewing area, attend a different session, or visit the expo hall or community area. There’s always something to do.
- The conference center is HUGE. Be aware that some sessions might be a 20-minute walk from your current location. Choose a closer session from your schedule if you are not going to get to your first choice of session in time.
- The counterpoint to #2 is that the sessions are the least important part of being there. All sessions will be recorded. After Ignite is over, consider organizing a weekly lunch and learn at your office to watch and discuss a session recording. There are over 900 hours of sessions during Ignite, and you probably won’t get to even 40 hours of them, so expect that you will want to watch many in the weeks that follow.
- When you do attend a session, do two things:
- Make a note of the speaker’s contact information and social media preferences. If you want to contact them later, is it best to do that through Twitter, the Microsoft Technical Community forums, LinkedIn, email, or something else?
- Ask questions. Ignite is a unique opportunity for you to directly ask experts your most pressing Microsoft technology questions. If the question is unique to your situation, save it for the end of the session.
- Visit the expo hall. What better way to learn about so many 3rd party products and solutions all in one place?
- Booth giveaways often make good souvenirs or prizes for user group meetings/training classes/user adoption activities.
- Visit the Microsoft booths in the expo hall to find product experts and ask them your questions. These will be staffed by both Microsoft employees and MVPs. Both have deep knowledge of specific products or scenarios but may have very different perspectives.
- I’ll be working at the Teams product booth on Tuesday (9/25 4-6pm), Wednesday (9/26 4-5:30 pm), and Thursday (9/27 3:15-5:15 pm)
- Don’t miss lunch. You’ll need the food to power you through the afternoon.
- You never have to eat alone. Meals are a great networking opportunity. Need an icebreaker? How about “Where are you in your Office 365 Journey?”, “What session are you going to next?”, or “What did you learn today?”.
- Bring business cards. Polish up your LinkedIn profile and make sure you have a current profile picture.
- Bring a power bank for your phone. Your phone is a critical tool for keeping track of what to go to next (get the Ignite mobile app!), taking notes (use OneNote!), tracking expenses, making connections (add people to your LinkedIn network!), and hailing a ride to/from a vendor party.
- There are vendor networking events every night but Thursday, but they tend to feature appetizers, so you will still need to find a proper dinner.
- If you are at Ignite to learn, make sure you get enough sleep each night. Your brain needs sleep time to process and store all that you learned. #AdviceFromADad
If you are interested in Office 365 User Adoption, please come to Rob Bogue’s meetup session, MUP2010: Getting everyone on board: User adoption in a crowded world, on Thursday 9/27 at 9 am ET in room W222. Rob will be assisted by Lesley Crook, Sonia Cuff, Simon Denton, Sarah Haase, Rich Skloot, Tracy Van Der Schyff, and myself as we facilitate a very interactive discussion.
The Microsoft Teams product team has also invited me to blog about sessions BRK3230: Learn how Microsoft does IT: The journey from Skype for Business to Teams and THR3081: Top five things you need to know to optimize your network for Microsoft Teams, so you’ll see more blog posts from me during the week of Microsoft Ignite.
If you can’t go to Microsoft Ignite, I would encourage you to attend (either in person or remotely) the October 4, 2018 Office 365 Adoption User Group (Chicagoland Chapter) meeting, where we will have a recap of Microsoft Ignite as well as a presentation on Bing for Business. Register now!