TechEd North America Thread

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Ten Tips For New Attendees

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    quick question? where do you sign up for the sessions?  



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    It's open yet, but there will be a "schedule builder" tool on the teched website that lets you do this.  You've probably seen in the threads, but I'll call it out again -- the sessions are first come, first serve.  Signing up for them helps you be organized, and helps TechEd staff try to predict event resources - so it's win win!

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    I am a n00b and I don't even travel hardly ever, however, I like to over-prepare so one thing I'm planning to do is to have a change of clothes in my carry-on.

    That way I at least have one set of clean clothes if my luggage happens to end up in Bangladesh and I'm in New Orleans.

    We also have a set of vacuum bags made of compressing down clothing for travel from when my step-daughter took a trip to Europe. I figure these will come in really handy, especially on the return trip to compress dirty clothes and make more room for convention swag and odds 'n ends purchases that I'm bringing back.

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    @MikeRigsby: Don't forget that you are going to be getting a bag from TechEd, so don't forget to consider that for your return luggage allotment.  

    Live dangerous! Only bring 1 or 2 shirts and cloak yourself in swag for the rest of the trip.   

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    One thing to think about, if you do plan on depending on swag shirts, many times the largest they have is XL. Those of us rather round fellows who need a 2XL, or larger, may be sorely disappointed in the selection. 

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    The clothes you are traveling in plus underware, a pair of shorts and a t-shirt is enough to bring Smiley

    If you need more there is a fair sized shopping mall close to the conference center. 

    The only reason for checked in luggage is security rules. 


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    there are a bunch of great usb charging devices out there, most under $50. A friend brought a few different types last year and the general consensus was the anything 10000mAh or better will keep your phone happy all day long.

    I've said it before I'll say it again, sit in the front (get there early) if it's a topic you are interested in. It helps to take notes as sometimes these dim lit rooms make people a little sleepy (esp. after a good night out). Writing the notes keeps you engaged with the topic, and sitting in front will encourage you not to nod off as some speakers take that personally Smiley

    I usually do two shirts per day, a tshirt (get it from the vendor area) and a longer sleeve over the top. That way you can have an extra shirt for the freezing rooms, and you can ditch it into your backpack when you go outside.

    Bring at least one nice shirt, I didn't last year and regretted it. There might be an event that you attend that you may not want to look like a conference refugee at. (MS Community party for one)

    HYDRATE : the water bottle is key, keep using it all day long, you'll be surprised at how much better you will feel drinking tons of water as opposed to tons of soft drinks (even if it is Diet Dr Pepper) or coffee. Keep that bottle full at all times...AND...know where the closest bathroom is.

    When the room schedule comes out, look at it and compare it to what you have signed up for. You really don't want to go end to end to end between each session, it's exhausting and tends to get you the crappiest seat.

    In addition to not breaking in your shoes on the day of the event (walking backwards apparently increases the break in rate, or so @rickstercdn tells me) carry and extra pair of socks. A change of socks half way through the day maybe the best thing ever

    don't be afraid to interact. There are great BoF sessions to get engaged and social groups such as #theKrewe, use them so that you have someone to get ideas from, hang out with, and generally help you out if the need arises.

    Ok, I've added about $1.25 as opposed $.02

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    @mke077:Nice post.  Thanks for sharing your tips and suggestions.

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    Nice additions Peter. Hadn't really thought about extra socks but makes total sense. Not sure I even own a 'nice shirt', let alone thought about bringing one. I'll have to decide if I have any need for that.

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    I guess this answers my question about the need for formal wear. So I wouldn't have need for a suit, or at the very least, shirt and tie, at least once during the conference?

    I am assuming there are no ladies here we would want to impress by dressing up? Smiley

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    This is one conference where you have no need to dress up at all for normal day to day stuff.  You may want something if you're going to a meeting or a nice dinner.  Otherwise normal attire is jeans or shorts and t-shirts.  Microsoft and speakers are usually the best dressed in khaki and polos.

    This conference is male centric attendance wise.  There are women, just a low ratio.  I'd say there is a higher ratio of women in the speakers than attendees. 

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    Here are some of my tips for TechEd attendees updated for 2013.

    1. Do not to pack too many clothes. You can get free T-shirts from most vendors and they 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. You will have room in your bag to take home all the T-shirts you will get.
    2. Bring comfortable shoes (not new shoes) for all the walking you will have to do to get to sessions and meals (breakfast and lunch) and maybe back to your hotel.
    3. You will most likely get a backpack as a TechEd Attendee so unless you really like yours or it is a road warrior type or laptop bag, one is not needed.
    4. Bring your cell phone charger and/or power strip. There should be outlets available in sessions and powerstrips in the Alumni Lounge (For past attendees only).
    5. Try to arrive early for breakfast and lunch. Lines can be long but they move quickly. There are separate serving stations for pre-registered dietary needs (Vegetarian, Indian Vegetarian, Halaal, Kosher).
    6. Plan to arrive for 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 show.
    7. If you really want to attend the early morning sessions(8:30 am), 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.
    8. Get to registration early with your final confirmation email and Government Issued ID. There is a self-checkin that was really helpful.
    9. 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).
    10. Use the water bottle provided. There are usually water fountains or water dispensers everywhere. Water will keep you hydrated but do not overdo it. Bathroom lines can be long.

    See more tips at my blog post

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    @Scottee25: There are women in technology and some attend TechEd. But it's true that there are few of us and we are generally not on the prowl for a mate at a technical conference. I would say there's no need to dress up to impress us. Plus some of the vendor shirts are HOT! Like the "Super Sparkle Happy" OWA shirt a few years ago. Definitely turned heads.

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    @ChrisW:Shorts are good outside the convention center, but inside, they blow the AC constantly. It's not surprising to see people with jackets and sweaters.  That was the case last year in Orlando.

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    If you haven't booked your hotel yet, get one as close to the convention center as possible.  If you're within a mile, you can always have the option to walk, but plan for humidity.

    Also, if you have frequent-stayer programs from hotel chains, especially the cheaper ones, check them out to see if you can get into a non-conference hotel a lot cheaper than the official hotels.  If you find one, note where the conference hotels are so you have a place to catch the shuttle bus.

    Remember that you'll be spending more time in the convention center than your hotel room.  For me, I just need a reasonable place to sleep, take a shower, and store my stuff.  All of the fancy stuff is really wasted.

    A few other tips: When walking around, look at the various bathrooms.  There will usually be one or two, especially in the exhibit hall, that are not busy most of the time, mainly because they're off the beaten path.

    If you plan on collecting a lot of SWAG, consider bringing an empty soft-side bag in your one piece of checked luggage.  This will give you an option for bringing back your conference goodies.  Remember that with most airlines, a second bag is $35 while an overweight bag is $50.  Apart from this, consider using the UPS facility in the convention center to ship your goodies back as this is even cheaper.  Of course, I'm flying Southwest, so bags are free.  (Still, I have been overloaded in the past and had to pay the extra $50 because there's not much you can do at the airport.)

    More later as I think of them....


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    If it was not already mentioned, hit the Microsoft store earlier in the week rather than later. Some items do run out.

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    @ljrivera:I guess I should have qualified my response better. I was referring to the nicer attire for the evening social events. I understand that you may not be on the prowl at a technical conference, but what lady doesn't like a sharp dressed man? Smiley It has been my impression that most guys I have seen at conferences have dressed like slobs. Sometimes it is nice to dress up a bit. But you also don't want to look out of place either. I'll just plan to bring some khakis, a nice shirt, and maybe a tie just in case. The suit will stay at home I suppose.

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    Shorts and good shoes are a must. Then it's up to you to take and tweet pics of men wearing capri pants, or TechEd attendees call "ManPris".

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