Stay rested and hydrated.
It's tempting to spend your evenings sipping away at fine or not-so-fine wines, but remember that you need your energy. Drinking more than you usually do will lower the quality of your sleep and prevent you from getting properly hydrated.
Whether you decide to stay sober or not, be sure that you prioritize your rest and hydration. These conferences can be exhausting, and having the energy to both attend activities and stay focused during them requires some conscious effort.
Keep your eyes peeled for SIGs
SIGs, or "special interest group" meetings, may not even be on your schedule. They tend to appeal to only a niche group, but if you are a part of that group or feel like you can take advantage of the lessons being taught, you can access an intimate, high-action learning environment.
And remember: SIGs come in all shapes and types, so chances are there will be at least one SIG that's specifically applicable to your niche.
Carry a notebook.
Whether it's an electronic notebook or a traditional pen-and-paper setup, having an opportunity to take notes is important. This isn't simply to record factual details or contact information, however. Hearing the ideas and stories of other individuals and companies is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Take advantage of the brainstorming atmosphere by writing your ideas down throughout the conference.
Some people find it easier to work with a voice recorder or a voice recorder app on their smartphone. This can be a great option, but remember that it limits when you can make notes.
Pay attention for activities and workshops.
Look around for activities and workshops, including ones listed and unlisted in your conference itinerary. While the speakers and announcements are what draw professionals to conferences, the biggest long-term value comes from participating in experiments, active workshops, and other group-based activities. This also creates one of your best opportunities for networking.
Use the conference as a social media opportunity.
Whether it’s through Tweeting, Facebooking, or writing a blog entry, you can leverage the experience and justify the expense by talking about it on your professional outlets. For individuals, this is a way to extend your social networking and develop your reputation. For companies, this can be an opportunity to reach out to new clients and professionals.
In our next entry on making the most of SharePoint conferences, we'll discuss how to network yourself effectively. We look forward to seeing you at the next major Microsoft event.
Feel free to contact our Sharepoint Consulting team here.