Tips for attending Cisco Live 2018

Cisco Live has got to be my absolute favorite IT Conference! The presenters are fantastic, the sessions are very tech forward, and very lite on the sales pitch. Cisco actually discourages their sales teams from attending so their customers can have a pressure free week to explore and learn more about Cisco’s offerings. I participated in the Management program last year and I was just blown away all week long!

Cisco Live US 2018 is in Orland, FL, June 10th-14th – Register today to take advantage of early bird rates and save!

So, as a veteran attendee of Cisco Live here are my top 11 tips (sorry I couldn’t pick just 10!) and recommendations to having a successful conference!

1. Register early – The earlier you can register for Cisco Live the more money you save, and I’m not talking about just $25 or $50. For example, between now and April 16th you can qualify for “Early Bird” discounts. That’s $200 off of regular registration, and $400 off onsite registration.

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Cisco Live 2018 pass pricing (https://www.ciscolive.com/us/attend/about/registration-packages/)

2. Secure your spot in sessions early – These sessions are really great, so you won’t want to delay in getting your spot! When registration opens up the sessions will fill up fast and you’ll be left waitlisted. Waitlisted attendees will have to wait to walk in to sessions and are only allowed in if there is available seating. Don’t get left outside, sign up for sessions early! And if this your first Cisco Live don’t forget to sign up for the First Time Attendees Session.

3. Give yourself a break – There are many places throughout the conference campus to grab a seat and unwind a little bit. Give your self some personal time to relax, grab a snack, and drink some water. There is tons of walking around and learning to do, and you don’t want to over do it on either.

4. Don’t Forget Customer Appreciation Night! – Cisco knows how to throw a party for sure! Last year at Cisco Live US 2017 Bruno Mars put on a concert for an arena full of Cisco customers! It. Was. AWESOME! So, you don’t want to miss an event like that. Keep an eye out for information regarding transportation to and from the event venue.

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5. Up your Social Media game – Particularly your Twitter game. Follow the Cisco Live Twitter account for the Cisco Live event you’re attending. For Cisco Live US its @CiscoLiveUS, also use the hash tag #CLUS. There are numerous other hash tags for sessions and events throughout the conference. There are also great giveaways and daily recognition for your social media activities and posts related to Cisco Live. Last year I won a free Starbucks coffee just for getting involved in the conversation on Twitter, which was just the fuel I needed!

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6. Attend the keynotes – The keynote events are very exciting. This is where Cisco talks about the future. Their future as a company, where the industry is going, and what you can expect as a Cisco Customer. They are full of surprises too! Last year during the opening keynote Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, came out on stage and chatted with Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins, for a bit on the growing partnership between Apple and Cisco. It was totally unexpected and very cool to see Tim Cook, and Chuck, live!

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7. Take a walk in the Solutions Expo – Here you’ll find tons of great displays of technology from Cisco and Cisco Partners. You can learn more about current and future offerings. Here you’ll also find more places to sit and relax, private meeting spaces you can book for meetings, and even the Cisco Store! (I spent way more money there last year than I care to admit!) I also found the Cisco TacOps truck on display. I had read about it and seen pictures of it so many times, but I actually got to go in it at the conference. Cisco actually has two of these trucks, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. They deploy to disaster areas or large events, like the Super Bowl, and help provide communications into and out of affected areas. As a ham radio operator and IT Professional I got a big kick out of seeing all the tech in this truck!

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8. Download the Cisco Events App – Download the Cisco Events App, available in your App Store of choice. The app allows you to sign in with your credentials that you used to register for Cisco Live. You can view the event schedule, you can also view and make changes to your schedule of sessions. You’ll also get a chance to fill out surveys for the sessions you attend.

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9. Download Cisco Spark – Chances are you’re probably already using Cisco Spark, but if not go get it! It’s free to sign up for and use. Cisco creates Spark rooms for sessions so you can keep the conversation going long after you walk out of the session.

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10. Network! – It’s why you’re there! Talk to the people around you while you’re waiting in line, or at lunch. You already share a common interest. You’ll be amazed at the people you meet and the things you’ll learn!

11. Take your free exam – Every attendee gets a voucher for a free exam the can be taken during the week of the conference at the conference site. So whether your new to Cisco Certifications, or preparing for CCIE, don’t miss this opportunity to take a free shot at a certifications exam.

I hope you found the tips helpful. If you’ve attended before and have anything to add please feel free to do so in the comments.

If you’re attending Cisco Live US in Orlando this year please shout out and let me know!

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