by Jeff Shuey, Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle

imageThings to know before, during, and after the Worldwide Partner Conference to make the best use of your time and get the most out of the event. Some are easy, some will take a little work, and all of them can help you and your company engage more effectively with Microsoft and the partners that attend the conference. 

This post is a companion to my post from last month, The Four F’s of WPC

First, what is WPC?

WPC is the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. It’s the chance for partners to connect with partners. It’s the best P2P event for Microsoft partners on the planet. It’s your chance to connect with the People that can help your business grow. It’s your opportunity to engage with the Partners that are as committed to the Microsoft community as you are. And it’s your chance to see the Products from Microsoft and partners that will help you create solutions.

Before WPC

If you do nothing else before you go to Houston for WPC, make sure you sign on to WPC Connect and complete your profile. In WPC Connect, you can build your conference schedule by setting up meetings with other attendees and adding sessions to your schedule.

My Four F’s post will help you build a more robust plan for your attendance, to really get the most out of the conference.

During WPC

  1. Attend sessions
    • You can add sessions to your conference schedule through WPC Connect.
    • Take time to complete the survey for each session you attend. The surveys are online this year and will be very easy to complete and submit.
    • Speakers really want to hear what you have to say—did they hit the mark with their presentation? Do you need more information? Tell them! 
  2. Manage your schedule with WPC Connect
    • The time and effort you put in to create and update your profile will pay huge dividends during the conference. You will already have meetings scheduled, you will already have places to be.
  3. Go to The Commons, also known as the expo hall
    • You’ll want to make time to walk around The Commons to talk with partners who are exhibiting.
    • In The Commons, you will also find Microsoft staffers to talk about products and plans.
  4. Network at the parties
    • There are parties planned throughout the event. Some are hosted by partners, and some are hosted by Microsoft teams.
    • To find out about what parties are planned, one WPC secret is to ask at the various booths in The Commons.
    • Ask your new WPC friends about what parties they plan to attend.
    • Be aware that many parties are by invitation only, and you may not be able to snag a ticket to these events. Just like in many things—longevity has its privileges (see “Re-invest,” below).

After WPC

  • After you leave WPC, the event is not over. Many of the sessions will have been recorded, and content (like slides) will be published online. As part of your WPC registration, you will have access to these materials. They can be really valuable for you to reference over the months after the conference, and as a way to share what you learned with your colleagues.
  • Re-invest
    Your first time WPC is just that, your first time. You can’t learn everything you need to know, you can’t meet everyone you need to meet, and you can’t do everything you need to do the first time you attend WPC. If you want to get the real value of the Worldwide Partner Conference, plan on attending again next year.

Now you’re ready for a great event

If you used my tips above for your Before-During-After planning, you should be in a good position to digest what you learned, to share what you learned with your colleagues, and to connect with the people you met.

See you in Houston!

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Jeff Shuey is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop, and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet, K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax, and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the intersection between social, mobile and cloud computing.

Connect with Jeff on Twitter, his blog, by email, and find him on Facebook, and LinkedIn. It’s also a good bet you can find him on WPC Connect.