Preparing for Microsoft Ignite 2018

Microsoft Ignite 2018 is less than 30 days away!  Attending a conference the size of Ignite is more than just showing up and picking from a few sessions each day.  You need a game plan to make the most of the week so here are my pointers on what you should be doing NOW to prepare.

  1. Start reviewing sessions: The schedule builder has been released and you should be working your way through the 1100+ sessions that are posted.  I always like to have time slots double and triple booked so I have options and am not scrambling on the fly.  You never know when you will find yourself a 20 minute walk away from a session that starts in 5 minutes…or maybe just not feeling a particular topic at that moment.
  2. Prepare a list of business problems, questions, or general discussions you’d like to have with a specific product group or vendor: You likely will not have this many Microsoft product groups, experts, MVPs, and vendors at your fingertips in the same place often.  Make the best of the week and come prepared with challenges to address with the product groups.  In some cases, you may not get your exact problem solved but you can make connections to follow up with after the conference.
  3. Start making community connectionsOf all the conferences I have attended, Ignite is the best at community!  Sometimes the best information you can take away from the week will not come from a formal session but instead from a “hallway session”  with another attendee.  These connections can last long after the conference ends too. And if you haven’t already, join the discussions on the Microsoft Tech Community site for great content and community help all year long!
  4. Connect with a networking group: You can almost consider this tip #3a as it goes hand in hand with making community connections.  Who doesn’t like to have fun after a long day of geeking out?  It’s usually easier to have fun if there are friends involved!  There are various groups that are chatting now, plotting out their Ignite week adventures so consider joining one.  Some suggestions are:
    • The Krewe: The Krewe is a grassroots group that started at TechEd years ago and has morphed into a year round technical community.  They host a meet and greet at the beginning of the week that serves as a family reunion of sorts to see old friends and welcome new.
    • TechEd Beer Geeks: If you are a craft beer fan, this spinoff group of The Krewe is all about craft beer discussions leading up to a ticketed beer sharing event the week of Ignite.
    • Kaizala Party Squad: A new group this year that has spun up on Microsoft’s garage app Kaizala.  The discussion is pretty lively, and as the name implies is all about the after-parties.
    • Jen Stirrup’s No Pressure Networking: Maybe you are an introvert and none of the others sound like your jam…that’s completely fine too.  Jen Stirrup, Microsoft MVP and Regional Director, is planning to have some introvert focused breakfast/lunch meetups.
  5. Consider adding a pre-day session: If you haven’t already solidified your travel plans, consider adding on one of the 20 or so pre-day sessions.  These sessions take place the Sunday before Ignite officially starts and are full day deep dives.  There are still some interesting options open but I’m sure registration for these will close soon so don’t wait if you see something that interests you.

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