Every successful IT pro knows that a well thought out, meticulous strategy is critical to the flawless execution of any plan.  So, if your bags are packed and you’re headed toward New Orleans for TechEd North America, you know that in order to take advantage of this treasure trove of 700 technical training sessions, you’ll need a clear strategy to get the most out of your visit as you can.

So that’s where we come in. In this post, we hope to give you the best tips and inside information on how you can get the most out of your visit to TechEd North America.  Here are 11 ways you can get the most out of your visit to Tech Ed North America.

  1. 11 ways to get the most out of your visit to TechEdAttend the Preconference Seminars.  Held one day before the official start of TechEd, the Preconference Seminars offer an additional opportunity to take advantage of technical training presented by industry and Microsoft experts.  Simply put, there is just not enough time during the official conference to cram you full of all the technical goodness that’s out there, so this is your chance to get a head start on all that TechEd has to offer. (Additional fee required)
  2. Attend the Foundational Sessions. The TechEd Foundational Sessions lay the groundwork for the breakout sessions and labs that take place throughout the rest of the week during TechEd. In totality, seven Foundational Sessions will be offered at TechEd, including four that specifically focus on topics within the Microsoft Server·Cloud·Tools product areas.  You can learn more about these four Foundational Sessions here.   
  3. Bust out for the Breakout Sessions.  As drill down from the Foundational Sessions, Breakout Sessions give you the more in-depth, working knowledge and specific how-to’s that you will need in order to bring your new skills home and put them into action.  Follow the track of your choice, and then choose the sessions from our Breakout agenda that hone in on your area of interest.
  4. Ask the Experts.  We’re bringing a team of Microsoft product experts in tow, and at the Server·Cloud·Tools Ask the Experts area located in the Microsoft Solutions Experience, our team will be available to discuss the challenges of your job or answer any questions that may have popped up throughout the week during the Breakout Sessions.  Each year, we receive feedback from participants noting this as one of the most valuable aspects of TechEd, so don’t miss your chance to speak directly with the Microsoft experts who work on our products to get your questions answered. 
  5. Get a grip in the Hands on Labs (HOLs).  These sessions offer participants a chance to try out the latest products, and review our Technical Learning Guides (TLGs) for even more in-depth knowledge and details.
  6. Flock to the Birds of a Feather Sessions.  In these sessions, you will have the chance to connect with peers who have similar interests in open dialogues about Microsoft products, technologies, and solutions.  The free-form format of our peer-led Birds of a Feather sessions encourage dynamic discussions and free-flowing thought on topics of mutual interest to all.
  7. Dive into the Immersion Bar.  Hands-on introduction here goes well beyond your typical demo. At the Immersion Bar, you will see first-hand the benefits of deploying a completely integrated datacenter environment built with Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server and Windows Azure, so be sure and attend a mini session to learn how to “Transform Your Datacenter.”
  8. Follow along in Instructor Led Labs.  Tech Ed offers a rich agenda of Instructor Led Labs throughout the week at Tech Ed. In these sessions, Microsoft experts will lead you through various topics while you get the opportunity to exercise new skills with guidance and tips straight from the pros. 
  9. Enlist in the Twitter Army. Yes, that’s right, myITforum’s Twitter Army will mobilize for TechEd North America.  It’s fun, it’s rewarding (participants can win prizes at the end of the week based on certain criteria), and together we can generate some great community content about Tech Ed for those at the conference and for those at home.  You can learn more about the Twitter Army here and register in advance here, or at Tech Ed North America, you can attend the Twitter Army Briefing on Monday, June 3rd from 6:30 – 7:30 am on the 3rd floor above Halls I and J (where the keynote will be). 
  10. Pay attention to the highlights.  We know that the good stuff will be plentiful at Tech Ed 2013, so each morning, right here on the Server and Cloud blog, we will be pulling some don’t-miss highlights from the upcoming day’s events.  Be sure to come back here each day for our overall Server-Cloud-Tools top picks, or you can visit our other network blogs on Monday for the full week’s overview that features highlights for those of you with a specific interest in Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center or Windows Intune.
  11. Follow the news as it happens.  Whether you’re at TechEd or you’re following along from home or your office, you can join in on the conversations and experience the event as it’s happening.  On Twitter, follow @TechEd_NA , our Server-Cloud-Tool handle @MSCloud and the primary event hashtag #msTechEd.  You can also stay connected with the Ch9 Events App for even more information on Tech Ed North America 2013.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your strategy for getting the most out of Tech Ed now! You can also find Great tips for first-time attendees and information on the Best Things to See, Do and Eat in New Orleans in the Ch9 blog on TechEd North America.