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Maximize your Microsoft Data Insights Summit

Author by Seth Bauer

I was just checking out my session list and re-arranging a few things for the upcoming Data Insights Summit next week in Seattle. I was clicking through the Community section and seeing who from the Power BI Community forum I could recognize so I could be sure to say hi while I’m there. As I was scrolling through profiles I realized my own profile wasn’t showing! This was entirely a missed step I must have taken of my own accord when I signed up on day one. Realizing I might not be the only person in this boat, I wanted to share how you can easily check and fix this. I also want to mention some other tips from my experience last year and other conferences so you too can maximize your experience this year.

How to check to make sure your profile is showing in the Community section
Log in to the Microsoft Data Insights Summit front page with the email that you used to register. You can do this by clicking on the “Schedule Builder” in the upper right hand corner. This will take you to a page where I just clicked on my Microsoft Account tab and logged in. I don’t know if a Microsoft account was required, or if there are other ways you could sign up, but the idea is to log in using the same credentials you used when you registered.
From here, you will land on the main schedule page, ignore everything for the moment and click on your name in the upper right hand side of the page. This will bring up your profile. Click on either “Full Details / Privacy Settings” or “Edit Details”, they both take you to your profile. As you scroll down the page, enter in any information you want to add, or share with others. You can toggle many of the options to be visible or private, but scroll all the way to the bottom and under “Privacy Settings” make sure the “Show my profile in the community” is checked.
Here are my settings, the top one is most important!
Save and you will be back to your profile. Now click on the Community and make sure your profile is visable.
Now that you are scrolling through pages of people, I want you to take note of all the other people that will be there. Exciting huh! The following is why I recommended doing all of the above and making your profile active.

The” most rewarding thing you can take away from a professional conference are the people you interact with and meet. The sessions can be great, the things you learn will most definetely benefit you, but do not, I repeat, Do Not let this conference go by without doing the following.
  • Interact with other attendees. This is by far the biggest piece of advice I have. For the 10 “HI’s” you may give out, and the 4 introductions and conversations that start up, there is always at least 1 of those conversations that blossoms into a great talk, and a connection made. These are the people you exchange business cards with, start online interactions with later and inevitably look forward to seeing at other events. As this list grows, each conference becomes more exciting and fulfilling and the learning and experience sharing continue to help you grow personally and professionally.
  • Have a bucket list of Community people that have impacted you somehow. These are most likely speakers, MSFT Product Team members or some other sort of contributor. Introduce yourself, talk to them, they are here with the same goals as you and love talking about the same or related technologies.
  • Don’t meet one person, and just hang out with them the entire time. If you do start hanging out, that’s awesome! Now both of you can go meet more people together. Seriously, do this.
  • Take advantage of the social hours. The days fly by with great content, and the social hours are where you can finally spend time meeting and talking to others.
  • Go out at night. The social hours are short. Walk around and connect with other people wearing badges, extend the social hour over dinner and into the night.
Conferences are exciting places to interact with so many like-minded professionals all working with the same tools in different ways. Everyone is there to learn and grow, but you need to be sure to interact! So be the person that sheds your normal introverted self (for most of us) and be outgoing. Be yourself, but make a conscious choice to be the person to initiate conversation. I guarantee both you, and all the people you interact with, will have a much better time.
I’ve got my own bucket list ready, and I can’t wait to meet even more people at this year’s Summit. See you next week!