Sitecore Symposium Tips For The First Timer

Symposium is almost upon us!  Having been to several Sitecore Symposiums I wanted to pass on some tips to the first timers from my point of view.

1. Use the app – Usually a few days before Symposium, Sitecore will release a site / app.  Watch for it and register to get setup.  This will provide an in depth look at what sessions are available, where, and when.  Each track will have multiple sessions running at the same time so its a good idea to plan ahead and figure out which you would like to go.  If attending with colleagues it might be a good plan to divide and conquer, allowing each of you to gather information from different sessions.   You can start planning here:  http://www.sitecore.net/events/symposium-2017/breakout-sessions .

2. Familiarize yourself with the area – Prior to the first sessions its a good idea to walk down to the area and identify where things will be.  Identify session rooms, where the key note will be, where meals will be served, and most certainly where the bathrooms are!  The breaks in between each might seem like enough time to figure things out, but when you are among your peers, conversations about all things Sitecore can happen anywhere, and that break time flies by fast.

3.  Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone for sessions. – Generally speaking I have found that the technology track sessions are the most popular.  Simply because lots of developers go.   But breaking away from the pack can be very rewarding.  I have sat in on sessions for business and marketing.  Case studies are some of my favorites.  Being able to see the big picture of a successful project can help spark your own creativity.  Help you learn to engage your clients in new ways.  Of course, if something in the developer track really sparks your interest, I would not miss out!

4. Don’t be late – The more popular sessions will fill up fast and so will the seats.  So unless you like standing in the back, try and get to your next session a couple minutes before start.

5. Leave the work behind –  I know this is hard for some and I have been victim to it myself.  But every session, or even in the hallways outside, you will see people on laptops or phones working on client work.  This is not why you are at Symposium!  So do yourself a favor and come up with a pre-game plan.  In some cases just talking to your supervisor and expressing the need to be work free during this time is enough.  In other instances a compromise can be found.  Offer a couple hours during the day where you are available or offer to work on issues after hours.

6. Have fun, but don’t have to much fun –   Vegas is one great big playground.  Enjoy it, but always remember in the back of your head that you got to get up the next day and sit through an entire day of learning.  There is nothing fun about being extremely tired and hung over.  Besides, some of the best fun happens at the party on the last night.  Try and make it there!

7. Make new friends – Networking is a very important thing at Symposium.  Remember that everyone there has a passion for Sitecore like you do.  So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone new.  Ask them what they thought of the new session or technology.  Go to every partner booth and talk to the people there.  Learn what you can and share your ideas.  But most importantly, don’t forget your business cards!

I hope this helps all the new comers.  If any veterans to Symposium are reading this, I hope you are nodding your head in agreement as well.  A little mental preparedness can go a long ways to give you the full Sitecore Symposium experience!

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