I am attending TechEd India 2011 next week (March 23 –25) and I am really excited about it! For those who are attending such events in these economically testing times, here are some pointers on how to make the most of such events.
What can you expect in conferences like TechEd?
TechEd India is a 3-day Microsoft technical paid event and focuses on technical education to the community, coupled with deep-dive sessions, big news announcements and exploring tools, platforms and services. With the focus on Azure, HTML 5, IE9, MVC, Silverlight, ASP.NET, jQuery and SharePoint 2010 this year, I am sure there’s something for everybody to learn. You also have breakout sessions, hands-on-labs, free certifications and product tents where you can interact, learn, network and get some cool merchandise. Did I mention, food and tea breaks during these 3 days are included!
And if you are a Microsoft MVP (oh talk about the benefits of being one which includes a free pass to this event!), you have an exclusive opportunity to meet the MS Product pundits, give them feedback and suggestions and get their insights. Last year, we also attended MVP parties hosted by companies like Telerik, Infragistics and PluralSight. It was great fun!
Make sure you take out time to Meet the MVP's at TechEd. We would love to interact with you!
How to Make the Most of these Events?
By preparing for these events in advance! Here are some pointers that could help you out:
Check the agenda in advance - Always make it a point to check the agenda and chalk out the sessions you plan to attend. For eg: In addition to the keynotes and meeting opportunities with the Microsoft top brass, here are some sessions I am really looking forward to:
- Building High Performance, Interactive Visualizations Dashboards with Silverlight by Jason Beres
- “Unexplained” of SQL Server Security by Vinod Kumar
- jQuery and AJAX Control Toolkit: Better together for building rich web apps by Fritz Onion
- The Top - 5 Enablers for Sustained Growth by Ranganathan S
- “HTML5” - more than just HTML5 by Harish Vaidyanathan
- Data Storage Services on the Cloud by Matt Milner
- Building a real-world, Internet-scale stock trading application by Naveen Prabhu
- Improving Application Performance with the Task Parallel Library by Fritz Onion
- Lap around Silverlight 5 & comparative with HTML5 by Supreet Singh
- Deep Dive: MVC Controller Architecture by Chris Eargle
- SQL & Windows Azure: Customer Evidences from MTC by Aniruddha Deswandikar
Write notes. Don’t shy away from asking questions - Carry your laptop or a notebook to jot down notes. If a question pops up in your head during the session, make sure you note it down. If you are a gadget freak and carry a smart phone voice recording device, even better! You can avoid the time and hassle of note-taking.
With a huge attendee turnout like the ones in Teched, you may get 5 minutes or less to exchange ideas or questions with the speaker. Look at the agenda, try to gauge the content and keep your questions ready, wherever possible. In my case, my memory always fails me, so my ASUS netbook is my best companion to take down questions. By the way, did I mention it runs for a good 8 hours on batteries ;)
Focus on sharing and learning from one another - It’s always interesting to gather perspectives from fellow devs about the different technologies in the market or ask them about the project/products they are working on. Developers love sharing what and how they create. You will be surprised to learn there are so many smart devs out there. It’s a networking and learning event, so leverage your personality and be sure to take advantage of this networking opportunity.
Plan meetings or strike up a conversation – Technical events like Teched is not just about learning, it also opens doors to opportunities. So be ready to explore one when you see it. If you can, find who's attending and make a list of people you want to meet. Ask them for their time in advance for a meetup.
To strike a conversation with a prospect, the key is to feel capable and confident. Be open to introduce yourself without intruding. Be ready to answer questions like “What do you do”? Don’t talk too much about yourself. Listen intently. Also remember that you cannot talk to everyone, so go with the flow. You may or may not build up contacts, however the important thing over here is to network, meet new people and be yourself.
Business cards and Follow up – Keep your business cards ready and don’t shy away to exchange them. After the event, drop an email to the prospects you met at the event and thank them for the time.
Promotions – If you are running a blog or launching a new product, flaunt it using T-shirts, caps or any other merchandise. People will only learn about your product if you market it well.
Eat and Drink together – During conferences, make sure you eat your meal or get drinks with everyone else. This gives you a chance for informal conversation and to bond with one another. Last year, I attended MVP parties hosted by companies like Telerik, Infragistics and Plural Sight and it was good fun! To bring back some memories, here’s a picture from a TechEd party, with fellow MVP’s Ashish, Arjit, Nitin, Pinal, Suprotim and Sumit (left to right)
So those were some tips to help you make the most of this event. Feel free to share your tips!
I hope you’ll be attending TechEd this year and I look forward to meeting you and talk about the awesome stuff you are doing. If you are a visitor of any of our sites - DotNetCurry.com, DevCurry.com or SqlServerCurry.com, feel free to let us know how are we doing.
I will be doing a follow up post to share my experiences after I return from this event and I also plan to highlight the best tweets made during #techedin. So tweet your best!
It’s time to start packing my bags!