Tips for planning your US Partner experience at Microsoft Inspire

Chinmayi Bhavanishankar - US Partner Experience Lead

Microsoft Inspire is the new name for the annual worldwide Microsoft partner conference. Your first time at the Microsoft annual partner conference will be a memorable one, and you can make it better by preparing for it. Whether you are a first-time attendee or you’ve joined us at past conferences, here are three things you can do to have a productive and successful experience in Washington, DC in July.

1. Determine what you want from the conference

Take some time now to think about what you want to get from the conference. A little bit of preparation and planning now will help you make the most of your time at the conference.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is your elevator pitch for your business? You will be talking to a lot of different people at the conference. Practice and perfect it over the next few weeks.
  • What differentiates you from other partners? Your customers come to you for a reason – being able to articulate your competitive advantage will help you in conversations with other attendees and in the sessions you attend.
  • What is your business roadmap? Envision your future and have an outline of your business goals for the coming year and beyond.
  • While at Microsoft Inspire, are you looking for business partners, Microsoft connections, or subject matter experts?

The answers to the above questions will help you decide where to spend your time.

Focus on The Commons and networking events if you are looking for new partner relationships. The 2017 Partner of the Year Award winners and finalists are a good starting point. Learn more about the content being offered during the different types of sessions in the Session Catalog, available now. This year, we’ve added 20-minute Power Sessions to the mix, giving you an opportunity to learn about a wider variety of topics during the conference.

2. Sign up for the mentor program and other activities for first-time attendees

The Microsoft Inspire First Time Attendee program connects new attendees with conference alumni. These seasoned attendees provide one-on-one guidance prior to and during Microsoft Inspire, ensuring that you, as a First Time Attendee, have the best possible conference experience while learning best practices from mentors. After you’ve completed your Microsoft Inspire registration, navigate to the “Edit your profile” page to update your participation preferences and sign up to participate as either a mentee or a mentor. For questions regarding the First Time Attendee mentorship program, please contact:

  • FTA01 First Time Attendee: Planning for Microsoft Inspire 2017

Plan to be in Washington, DC on Sunday, July 9 to attend First Time Attendee networking and other activities between 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM. Come by the US Regional Lounge in The Commons during the Welcome Reception on Sunday, July 9 between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM to meet members of the US Partner Team and other partners.

  • FTA02 First Time Attendee: Turning inspiration into action: Post-Microsoft Inspire roadmap

On Thursday, July 13, learn how to keep the momentum going post-event to maximize business and personal benefits in the coming year. Explore possibilities for the future and hear how fellow attendees have used their experience to have a positive impact on their business and drive personal growth.

3. Balance your time at the conference

All attendees want to make the most of their conference investment, and first-time attendees often want to participate in everything. Partners that have been to the conference multiple times will tell you that doing everything is not possible. You’ll want to strike a balance between sessions, networking time, and a bit of personal time. If you have colleagues also attending Microsoft Inspire, build your plans together, so you can prioritize your time and divvy up sessions and networking.

Here are some activities to plan for:

  • Vision Keynotes delivered by Microsoft leaders like Satya Nadella, Judson Althoff, Ron Huddleston, and Gavriella Schuster will begin each conference day.
  • The United States General Session, where you’ll learn about the US Partner Team’s priorities and plans for the year ahead, is on Tuesday, July 11 at 4:00 PM.
  • The US Partner Celebration is the night of Tuesday, July 11, and the Worldwide Partner Celebration is the night of Wednesday, July 12.
  • The Commons includes expo space where you can learn about solutions and opportunities with other partners, and Microsoft Central, where you can connect with Microsoft experts across products, programs, technologies, and more.
  • The US Regional Lounge is located in The Commons – stop by to meet members of the US Partner Team, connect with other partners, and even relax and recharge.

Sign up for the Know before you go to Microsoft Inspire call on June 28

Sign up for the MPN 101 – Know before you go to Microsoft Inspire call on Wednesday, June 28 and get more planning tips and insights in the final days before the conference.

As you plan your time at Microsoft Inspire, the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Microsoft Inspire website may be helpful. Review the US Partner Agenda for Microsoft Inspire in our Yammer group, and follow @msinspireus on Twitter for updates about US Partner activities.

I hope to see you at Microsoft Inspire this July in Washington, DC!