5 Conference Tips

VMworld Europe 2015 is next week. Whilst this is my first time at the VMware conference (yep, I’m a NewV), here are some general purpose tips from my other conference experiences.

  1. Travel: Scope out the transport to the venue in advance- is registration open the evening before? Don’t wait till the Monday morning rush hour to find out how the local metro works. You’re likely to be doing a lot of walking, even when you get to the venue, so make sure you wear comfortable footwear.

Seriously, you can do a lot of steps

  1. Go to those breakout sessions, even if they are being recorded. This is your learning time, your (hopefully) not interrupted by the day-to-day of the office time. If you skip those sessions you may not get the chance to go back and watch them. You’ll certainly miss out on the chance to ask questions, follow up in person with the speaker, or use that new-found knowledge later in the week. When you’re at the sessions take notes. Lots of notes. This might be just a personal thing, but I find I can recall the knowledge much better if I write it down, even if I don’t refer back to all the notes.
  2. Tour the Vendor area. It’s not just about getting free pens and t-shirts- find out about the products. From the big conferences like VMworld and Ignite down to the more local one’s like VMUG or the Insight show you have the opportunity to speak to several vendors in one place rather than arranging separate trips or online sessions with each one. But do pick up the t-shirts anyway :)

The Solutions Exchange

  1. Speak to your fellow IT Professionals. There’s a lot of networking activities at these events and it’s a great opportunity to make contacts in the industry and find out how everyone else does things. You might find your next job, next employee, next sale, or next purchase. Even if you feel like the most reserved, shy, introverted person in the room go and speak to someone. If nothing else that might be one more friend for next time.
  2. Remember, when it’s all over, you can go back to the office and relax :)