Discover PerformanceHP Software's community for IT leaders // October 2013
Barcelona agenda: How to survive a tech conference
A show the size of HP Discover Barcelona can be overwhelming. Here’s how to make the most of your chance to network with, learn from, and influence peers and experts.
In our increasingly digital world, there’s something refreshingly analog (human, if you will) about attending HP Discover Barcelona 2013. It’s a chance to meet with experts from HP, IT thought leaders, and your peers in a bustling, energized gathering while discovering new ways to solve your technology challenges.
“Discover is the biggest event from HP covering all the business units as well as customers and partners,” says Felix Fernandez, CTO of WW Strategy and Solutions for HP Software Professional Services. “It’s a good opportunity to talk to one another, exchange information, and learn about new things coming from all the different business units. There are a lot of different announcements coming in Barcelona.”
Given the scope of the conference, it could be easy to be overwhelmed and miss something valuable. Here is some helpful advice on planning—before, during, and after the conference—to help you get the most out of your experience.
Do your homework: ramp up your knowledge in advance. Read up on speakers, sessions, and track descriptions, and check the Discover Barcelona agenda as it takes shape in the coming weeks. Get a handle on your own agenda for the event:
- What do you hope to gain?
- Are you there to research? Make a purchasing decision? Learn? Network?
- Will you focus on an executive or practitioner trajectory?
- Create a list of your organization’s current requirements to aid in discussions with HP experts and other delegates and in researching potential products/services.
- Research sessions to plan intelligent questions.
- Make appointments with exhibitors.
Preregister—Avoid confusion and hassles, and save money, with pre-event registration.
Prepare your papers—Get your travel documents in order well before you leave. Is your passport up to date? Will you need a visa?
Socialize the event within your organization—Talk with your colleagues to see who else is attending or has an interest in doing so. Consider inviting an up-and-coming direct report who would benefit from the show.
Be tech-savvy, not tech-saturated—Don’t get bogged down with your entire mobile office (even if it’s in rolling luggage). Consider a tablet or smartphone with the right apps:
- LinkedIn w/CardMunch—Boost your follow-up efforts with this card-reading app that helps you send LinkedIn invites and InMail messages.
- Evernote—Try this popular app for capturing ideas on the go.
- TweetDeck/HootSuite/Taptu—Follow your favorite IT leaders and tweet about your reactions to what you see/hear at the show.
- Facebook—“Like” the Discover Barcelona feed to get updates and news.
- HP Discover app—Search your phone’s app store and download the HP Discover app. The app lets you plan your daily agenda, view all session details, and more.
Working the event like a pro
Strategy is everything. Remember how much you had to get done before you left, so you could be away from the office? Maximize your time at the show by developing a sound strategy. You don’t need to follow it slavishly—unexpected opportunities will no doubt present themselves—but try to keep your agenda in mind as the days unfold. The structure will let you be productive and enjoy the show.
- Stay up-to-date—Check information points at the event or on the HP Discover app to get the latest changes and updates.
- Book a meeting space—Talk one-on-one with industry leaders, sponsors, and exhibitors via the HP Meeting Center and Partner Meeting Center (contact your HP sales representative to book a tailored discussion of your choice). Exchange ideas, information, and best practices with peers and customers.
- Stay on task—Take a glance at your agenda at the end of the day (before cocktail hour) and see how closely you kept to your goals, and note any goals that might need adjusting.
- Have fun—Be interested, and be interesting. Be yourself, and be ready to learn: ask questions. Mingle with all the conference attendees at the exciting HP Discover Party. Schedule drinks, dinner, or sightseeing with colleagues or new acquaintances.
When you get back to the office, follow up on your most important to-do items within one business week. An event on the scale of Discover can be an electrifying experience, but if you dawdle afterward, you may return to putting out fires and miss the opportunity for effective follow-up. Sticking to your old daily routine doesn’t lend itself to the new style of IT.
- Expand your network—Reach out to the contacts you made in Barcelona, and nurture the associations you made.
- Make roadmaps—Develop an action plan for yourself, your career, and your business. Include near-term and long-term goals, and list next steps. Consider developing your outline on your trip home, while the experience is still fresh.
- Socialize your experience—Put together a brown bag presentation for your supervisor and direct reports. Send a summary of what you learned along with your business action plan to your supervisor. That will make asking to attend the next HP Discover event an easy sell.
Register for HP Discover Barcelona 2013 and make the most out of an opportunity to connect to peers, industry leaders, and the best enterprise technology.
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