How to make your Worldwide Partner Conference experience a success

17 June 2014 | Kris Fuehr, Partner Community Manager, Microsoft

When you arrive at WPC, the choices can be overwhelming – like visiting an all-you-can-eat buffet – three blocks long!

Here’s how NOT to do WPC: My first year, I booked my time in breakout sessions all day long. I’d glance across the audience and see the interesting and smart people I was sitting with but had only a handful of interactions with them over a quick breakfast or lunch. Our home team got together for dinner and while these dinners were fun, I wondered: Couldn’t I just see my team back in the office? I’m missing out! 

The mission at WPC is to balance vision, information (overload), fun, and critical networking opportunities.   

So the following year, I decided to reserve FIVE must-attend sessions on my calendar. I also proactively booked meetings at WPC Connect with the goal of finding my most productive dinner-mates that evening. Before I left my office for the show, I asked my team: “What are we looking for in a partnership? Do we have any opportunities that could explode our growth if we just find the ‘right one?’” If so, that’s who I’m booking my dinner with!

Since your focus is on health, you’ll want to attend at least one keynote for the big health industry priorities such as mobility, big data (like the Public Sector Big Data session), cloud, data privacy, and security. Then, after attending one big-group evening gathering (if you’re like many, perhaps you’d allocate more time at the parties), spend some of your evenings with your own personal VIP’s that will really be a catalyst to your growth – whether those are Microsoft employees or partners. Bring back a plan for these partners to show your team and everyone will be happy with the ROTI (Return on Travel Investment)!

Your main stops in planning:

NOTE:  Many are unpublished until the day of the show and you may want to seek out an invitation or wristband from regional groups or exhibit sponsors. Otherwise, attend the Welcome Reception for best exposure to the most people at the right time.  
May your time in D.C. be fruitful and fun!
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Kris Fuehr
Partner Community Manager, Microsoft