We are just over 3 weeks away from European SharePoint Conference 2016 in Vienna. For those of you heading that way, here are some great tips that will help you get the most out of the largest gathering of SharePoint & Office 365 professionals in Europe:
Find out who’s going
Keep an eye on Twitter, specifically “#espc16” to see who’s joining the party this year. These conferences are for much more than simply learning all SharePoint and Office 365, they provide you a huge, unmatched opportunity: networking. ESPC16 is going to be the perfect time to connect with your peers, meet new prospects, or get some very important face to face time with customers. Maybe even reach out to all your favorite people beforehand to set up meetings, as I wouldn’t bank on running into anyone at the conference.
Check out the conference schedule and create your own adventure through the sessions and tutorials you want to attend. This will also be a helpful tool to plan those meetings I mentioned before. If you are attending ESPC16 with co-workers and want to get the most out of the conference for your company, I suggest attending different sessions and swapping notes after.
When checking out the schedule for ESPC16, make sure you take a look at my joint tutorial “Modern SharePoint Development using SharePoint Framework, Webhooks, and Beyond” with Mike Ammerlaan and Vesa Juvonen on Monday the 14th, and my solo session “Build Your First SharePoint Framework Webpart” on Thursday the 17th.
An effective way to get the most out of the sessions you attend (and the conference as a whole is to create a game plan. Come up with some questions you would like the answers to. During Q&A sections, don’t be afraid to ask those questions! You could also talk to the speaker after the session. Another helpful tip would be to take notes. Lots of notes. I like to write down the 3 most important takeaways from that particular session.
With somewhere around 1,500 SharePoint and Office 365 geeks estimated to be in Vienna, you never know who you’ll run in to. And the conference isn’t the only place to meet new friends. Make sure to check out the after parties and networking sessions. Those are where you’ll find many an opportunity to swap ideas, get advice, and make those all-important contacts.
Follow-up in real time
Following up after the conference will be important for all those looking to build off of the networking you’ve done all week. Sending emails and LinkedIn requests is an excellent start. You might even create a template beforehand to speed up the process. Make sure you follow up while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. Can’t remember who is who? Take some notes on the back of the business cards you collect to help you separate Steve from Mary.
Share what you learn
What was the point of going to ESPC16 if you don’t share what you’ve learned? Set up a debriefing session with your co-workers and share all that you learned.