2019 Guide to Microsoft Ignite

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The countdown to Microsoft Ignite 2019 is on. As industry experts in Microsoft events, we wrote a guide to help Microsoft Ignite 2019 to be your most productive conference yet! Below you will find tips and tricks that we have learned through experience to help you optimize your conference time.

Know Before you go

OCC is the second largest convention center in the United States with a whopping total square footage of 7 million sq ft!

Map out/plan your sessions ahead of time. The list of 2019 Microsoft Ignite sessions can be found here and the 2019 Microsoft Ignite Agenda can be found here.

Plan out meal breaks The OCC has 8 food courts .

Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. There are usually water dispensers available throughout the conference.

If you are attending sessions or keynotes in separate buildings, give yourself enough time to get there (Here is a link to the floor plans)

Lastly, wear appropriate footwear to trek around in.

While you’re there

Microsoft Ignite 2019 is broken into 3 separate categories: Keynotes, Breakout sessions and The Hub(aka the showcase with all the various booths).

During the conference, there will be a variety of things to attend, from technical workshops to customer immersion experiences, new products to learn about, or even get certified on specific technology skills you’ve been mastering.

Learning paths are a major part of Microsoft Ignite:

“A Learning Path is a series of connected learning modules that include sessions, hands-on experiences, technical workshops, certifications, and expert connections. Each Learning Path works together to build upon what you’ve learned to provide a comprehensive set of skills to help you reach your goals.”

Click here to read more about Learning Paths at Microsoft Ignite 2019.

The Hub and breakout sessions are a great way to socialize and expand your network! Be ready to talk to a lot of people. Have some icebreakers ready to go so that you can spark valuable conversations and expand your network.

If you’re taking some learning paths and find a familiar face, it’s worth reaching out to have another resource about the technology you’re picking up once Ignite is over.

If you attend a session in which the speaker really grabs your attention, hang out for a few minutes after the conclusion. Speakers usually stay late for Q&A. It is a great opportunity to get to know them in a more intimate setting. If all else fails, jump on social media to connect with people you meet and see at the conference.

Our founder, John Peltenon likes to block out time every night to take notes and follow up with people. “If you plan to do it at the end of the conference, it's probably not going to get done” he says!

Attend the special events

Microsoft Ignite events or Happy Hours are definitely worth attending. Not only are they great networking opportunities, but also a cool way to see a different part of Orlando that isn’t the Convention center. Even though they are usually at the end of a long day of talking, walking, and Tweeting – you don’t want to miss these opportunities. Grab an extra shot of espresso and get out there! This year’s event is Thursday, November 7th at 7:30pm at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and is free for all conference attendees.

After the conference

Once the conference is over, be sure to follow up with the connections you made. Adding them on LinkedIn is a great way to re-introduce yourself.

But Microsoft Ignite 2019 is already sold out… The benefits of streaming


You avoid the crowds!

The crowds funneling into these events are no joke. Thousands and thousands of folks are all going to the same event you are and at the same time.

You can sleep in

To get a good seat and not get bumped to a dreaded overflow room, it takes away getting up early and waiting in line and after any late conference evenings… that can be grueling.

You can get something else done

Try not to do actual work while watching, instead work out, get ready for the day or even go for a walk(since you won’t be trekking around OCCC) while streaming from your phone can allow you to be extra productive.

It is easier to take notes

Handling a laptop in a hotel room is much easier than in a crowded convention hall (even a Surface Pro). Even when doing other things, it’s easy to take a break and grab a screen shot or jot something down in OneNote.

Ever wonder what it’s like for a day in the life of a speaker at a large conference like Microsoft Ignite?


What about the speakers? Do they just show up, do their 75-minute session and then head off to Universal Studios? Sometimes… ;) Seriously though, many speakers have multiple roles at events like Microsoft Ignite.  Let’s run through a few things that you may not have considered:

Before the event starts 

The days before the keynote can be very hectic for some speakers. In addition to speaking, speakers can also be on the hook for supporting the keynote. This can range from providing messaging and content to handling the infrastructure backstage to deliver a cracking demo. Some speakers even end up on stage being the star demo presenter!

Staffing the expo

Aside from delivering the presentations, the most public exposure for the speakers is on the expo floor. Where possible, speakers are encouraged to help staff the expo area. This is a potential opportunity for attendees to connect with a speaker and tackle any technical problems they may be experiencing in their environment.  It is also a great opportunity for the product team to receive feedback from the end customers. 

Press and analyst briefings and customer meetings


Often there will be an area of meeting rooms set aside for press briefings and customer meetings. Outside of their session duties, many speakers will be engaged in side meetings to help brief press on new product announcements or provide some direct expertise to those key strategic customer deals.

Taking in Sessions  

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As a speaker, it can often be hard to find the time to take in other sessions. Speakers should try to sit in on sessions when possible. It’s an easy opportunity to broaden knowledge. Sitting in on colleague’s sessions for moral support or helping with any Q&A can be also be a great use of time.

Hanging out in the Speaker Workroom 

There is typically a work space set aside for the speakers, known as the workroom. The atmosphere in the workroom can vary from loud and lively, to library-quiet. Remember, even though the speakers are at a conference, they still have a day job to do.  The quiet workrooms allow speakers to grab a quiet moment to catch up on email or even jump on a conference call. While the livelier workrooms offer a great place to catch up with old friends and colleagues, these workrooms come in handy particularly for a large multi-national company and community like Microsoft. Note: generally, the drinks and snacks in the speaker workroom are not of a higher standard than the rest of the conference food. That’s just in the Exec’s Suites…

We at 3Sharp are not only looking forward to supporting our Microsoft customers, but we are also excited to see what cool things Microsoft’s partners are doing this year at Ignite 2019!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see some cool behind the scenes and event pics and videos.