Friday, September 16, 2016

Tips for Microsoft Ignite Attendees

A few years ago the very first blog post on this blog was Tips for Teched Attendees. Now that Teched North America is Microsoft Ignite, we offer an updated list of some helpful tips for Microsoft Ignite Attendees.

Tips for #MSIgnite Attendees 
  1. Take some 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 some 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, (go for worn-in 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 Ignite) and maybe back to your hotel if is close.
  4. You will most likely get a backpack as an Ignite 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), portable battery packs and/or power strip. There should be outlets available in sessions in the convention center and in the lounges. If you bring a power strip you can make some new friends as you network in the lounges. 
  6. Try to arrive early for breakfast and lunch times at Ignite. Lines can be long but they move quickly. Vegetarian food is included in the regular food offerings this time around. There are separate areas for pre-registered dietary needs only (Vegan, Dairy-Free/Lactose Intolerant, Gluten-Free, Halaal or Kosher).
  7. Plan to arrive for your 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, 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(on paper or on your mobile device) and your Government Issued ID. In past years, there is a self-checkin process that was really efficient. This year they are offering check-in at the airport and other places including some hotels.
  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 My Ignite Site . It contains all the latest changes including room swaps, cancellations and other updated information during the conference.
  12. If you are on Twitter, follow the @MS_Ignite Account for great information and find posts from other attendees, vendors and Microsoft Ignite account with the official hashtag #msignite.  Also another helpful account to follow is @TheKrewe and search hashtag #thekrewe to make your Ignite experience better. 
  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 Interactive Labs formerly 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. Add them to your schedule in the Schedule Builder. Tip: Get to these early since they are usually in high demand throughout the conference.
  15. Remember to recycle your unwanted papers etc. from the Ignite backpack. There is usually a recycle station at the booth for THE CODE PROJECT.
  16. Save your wristband for the Ignite Attendee Celebration on Thursday evening. It is usually a tear-off perforated strip on the side of the flyer announcing the Attendee celebration. Do not throw it away without removing the wristband first. You will be unable to purchase another one this year since they are sold out.
  17. Schedule some break time to recover from the walking around the convention center and the food. There are plenty of lounge areas at Ignite this year. I'll see you there.
  18. Provide feedback about the sessions you attend using the surveys. Microsoft is listening and you can help shape the next Ignite by just filling out the surveys.
  19. Ice-cream bars come out at around 3 pm. Be on the lookout for the coolers. They disappear fast. There are usually frozen fruit bars available too. A few years ago when Ignite was TechEd, these were not there but Microsoft is bringing them back.
  20. 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.
  21. Put Ignite in your pocket and download the Microsoft Ignite App. It is available for Windows, Android and iOS. Learn more at
Enjoy Microsoft Ignite and go back to your jobs and share what you have learned! Comments are welcomed.