Monday, June 4, 2012

TechEd North America Attendee Tips

These are some tips from a  TechEd North America Attendee.
  1. Chewing gum for the flight. Years ago someone told me about chewing gum during takeoff and landing helps with air pressure in your inner ear (known as airplane ear)when ascending and descending. I always pack some gum in my carry-on just for this purpose.  
  2. Do not to pack too many clothes. You can get free T-shirts from most vendors and they usually have incentives for wearing their shirt on the Expo Floor. You will not have time to wear all the extra clothes if you bring them but you will have room in your bag to take home all the T-shirts you will get.
  3. Bring comfortable shoes (not new shoes) for all the walking you will have to do to get to sessions and meals (breakfast and lunch are provided at TechEd) and maybe back to your hotel.
  4. You will most likely get a backpack as a TechEd Attendee so unless you really like yours or it is a road warrior type or laptop bag, one is not needed.
  5. Bring your cell phone charger(s) and/or power strip. There should be outlets available in sessions and powerstrips in the Alumni Lounge (For past attendees only).
  6. Try to arrive early for breakfast and lunch at TechEd. Lines can be long but they move quickly. There are separate serving stations for pre-registered dietary needs (Vegetarian, Indian Vegetarian, Halaal, Kosher).
  7. Plan to arrive for sessions early. Rooms can fill up for some of the more popular speakers and topics. Try to attend the second session of a topic if there is one available. Use the Schedule Builder to know what will be available. If you are above a 101 level skip those sessions and attend the ones that will be more beneficial to you and your company. Also add multiple sessions to the same timeslot on your schedule, it can help if a session is full and there is only that one for the entire conference.
  8. If you really want to attend the early morning sessions(8:30 am), try not to stay up too late at night. Keep in mind most sessions will be recorded and available later for attendees to download after the conference.
  9. Get to registration early with your final confirmation email and Government Issued ID. In past years, there is a self-checkin process that was really efficient.
  10. Do NOT lose your badge. This is needed to get into sessions, events and will be scanned by the vendors on the Expo Floor so they can contact you after the show.(it's a business card without walking around with 500 cards).
  11. Use the MyTeched Site formerly CoMMNet. It contains all the latest changes including room swaps, cancellations and other updated information during the conference.
  12. If you are on twitter follow hashtag  #msteched since there are other TechEds out there now. Last I checked that was the official hashtag. Also follow @Teched_NA Account for great information. Another wonderful resource is @TheKrewe and hashtag #thekrewe
  13. Pack a fleece or light jacket or long sleeved shirt that you can remove when you go outside. The air conditioning units may be on blast in some of the rooms.
  14. Use the Hands-On Labs. Those are great opportunities to get familiar with the Microsoft products and there usually very helpful staff nearby that can help with technical issues. Tip: Get to these early since they are usually in high demand.
  15. Remember to recycle your unwanted papers etc from the TechEd backpack. There is usually a recycle station the booth for THE CODE PROJECT.
  16. Save your wristband for the TechEd Closing party. It is usually a tear-off perforated strip on the side of the flyer announcing the closing party. Do not throw it away without removing the wristband first.
  17. Take advantage of the available computers on the expo floor and throughout the convention center. This can help you with your cellphone's battery life and/or lugging around two bags or trying to put your laptop in the TechEd backpack.
  18. Schedule some break time to recover from the walking and food. If you are a past attendee, you can join me in the Alumni Lounge.
  19. Provide feedback about the sessions you attend. Microsoft is listening and you can help shape the next TechEd by just filling out the surveys.
  20. Ice-cream bars come out around 2:30. Be on the lookout for the coolers. They disappear fast. There are usually frozen fruit bars available too. Last TechEd these were not there so maybe they are cutting back.
  21. For you coffee and tea drinkers, you should bring a travel mug with you or if you get one as swag from a vendor, you can use that since it will hold more liquid and keep your drink hot longer than the paper cup at the coffee and tea stations.
Enjoy TechEd North America and go back to your job and share what you have learned! Comments are welcomed.

1 comment:

  1. Great Information. This will be my third TechEd and your blog includes some things I forgot about!

    Mike F Robbins