I’m sure other people have done this before (in fact I know someone has, and I promise I’m not ripping it off!) but I figured I’d share my tips and tricks from attending Tech.Ed for other people who may not be as ‘aware’ 🙂
- Phone & battery – bring your mobile with you. It may seem silly, but ensure you have it on you at all times. You’ll need to keep in contact with any work mates who’ve come down with you and if you’re into social media side of stuff at Tech.Ed, you’ll definitely want it for that. Also, PUT IT ON SILENT. I realise this is an obvious one, but it’s just general politeness – you don’t want to be in a session and have your “Don’t you think I’m sexy!” ringtone play out. Also, if you can, bring a backup battery. If your phone isn’t particularly new, you may find it is dead by the end of the day and it can be a REALLY long day (start at 8:15am and go through to 1-2am).
- Charge cables – this is obvious. Bring along your charge cables. You will undoubtedly need them. Forgetting them just makes you super sad when your phone/tablet/laptop dies.
- Twitter – join Twitter. I wasn’t a Twitterer. I joined for my first Tech.Ed. I do not regret it. I’ve made so many amazing contacts through it, so many good friends and I’ve been able to keep up with so much information. Just *DO IT* 😛
- Business Cards – take business cards with you. Even if you don’t have them through work, get some printed. They’re not expensive. They’re great ways of being able to give you information to people so that they won’t forget you the minute you walk away. This works in the reverse – collect as many business cards as you can, build up your network!
- Talk to EVERYONE – following on from previous point, talk to EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU CAN! It’s always good to expand your network and the people you’ll meet at Tech.Ed may just be able to help you out down the track with that annoying problem you’ve got, or helping you get that job you really want.
- Sleep as much as you can – Sleep is *REALLY* important. I don’t know if any other tips’n’tricks for Tech.Ed have this, but I feel it’s necessary to put it in. NAPS ARE AWESOME. If you can catch a half hour nap, it can keep you goign for another few hours. This can be important if you’re up from 7am and going through all the way to 1 or 2am.
- Plan your time – seriously, it seems obvious, but so many people I know who go to Tech.Ed don’t pre-plan their schedule. It’s really important, even if you only do it on the first day there. It gives you an idea of how much you’re trying to cram into each day, which sessions you really want to attend and if possible rank them – if there are sessions you MUST see, get to those sessions at least 15 minutes early to ensure you’ll get a seat. Also, see if you can wrangle a blank session each day – this will give you time to chat to vendors, to use the hands-on lab environment or to catch that quick nap you need to keep going.
- Dress comfortably – this may be REALLY obvious for guys, but for girls? Not so much. Do not wear heels. Just don’t. You will be walking around for most of the day, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes. Bring a jacket – the rooms can be absolutely freezing, but outside it can be 30 degrees. But make sure you’re still dressing professionally – you’re associating with colleagues, prospective colleagues and prospective employers. You want to make a good impression.
- Evaluate – I know all speakers push this, but I’m going to push it harder. EVALUATE EVERY SESSION YOU ATTEND! It is *so* important. If you don’t provide evaulations, how do the speakers and the coordinators of Tech.Ed know how to put together next years event to make it even better? It only takes a few minutes and it seriously does help.
- Have fun – this is obvious, but also important. Try and have fun. Yes, it’s a conference. Yes, your work has (probably) sent you to get information. But if you don’t have fun, it was be an insane drag. You want the week to be enjoyable because then it will be memorable!
That’s it for me for tips. If I think of anything else – or people let me know I’ve missed something, I’ll throw it in! 🙂