Cisco Live US 2018 was in beautiful, sunny, Orlando FL!

Last year I posted my tips for attending Cisco Live 2018. Well, it’s been almost a year, I’ve attended a few more conferences (Cisco Live US, VMworld 2018), and I’d like to present you with my tips for attending Cisco Live 2019! Here we go with my Top 12 Tips for attending Cisco Live US!

Cisco Live US is June 9th-13th in sunny San Diego, CA. Register today!

1. Register early! – The earlier you register the better the discount you’ll receive. We’re not just talking $10 or $20 off either. In fact, if you register now through March 18th you save $300 off the regular conference pass price! Register today!

If you’re a first-time attendee check out these tips, and when sessions do open up make sure you register for the first-time attendee session.

CLUS pass prices as of publication of this post.

2. Book your travel and hotel right away! – When you register for Cisco Live, and many other conferences, you are given discounted options at hotels that are close to the venue. These tend to fill up quickly, and sometimes they aren’t the best or least expensive option. If you’re attending with coworkers consider a work-friendly Airbnb option. I attended two conferences in 2018 where I was able to save my employer a ton of money on hotel fees by using Airbnb for me and my coworkers. In fact, in one instance I saved so much money I was able to bring another co-worker to the conference. For example, last year at CLUS we got a beautiful condo with 4 bedrooms and multiple bathrooms on three levels for less than the cost of a hotel room for just one of us for the week.

3. Use Your Free Exam Voucher – Full attendee conference passes are given an opportunity to take a Cisco Exam free of charge, but you must be present at the onsite Pearson Vue testing center at Cisco Live. Last year, I passed my ICND 1 exam at Cisco Live!

That’s me celebrating after taking and passing my ICND1 exam at Cisco Live US 2018

Passing that exam motivated me to continue pursuing my Cisco Certifications. I’m happy to report that as of today I now hold my CCNA Routing and Switching, my CCDA, and I’ve recently passed my CCNP 300-115 SWITCH exam, and I have begun studying for the CCNP 300-101 ROUTE exam.

4. Register for Sessions Early – The sessions at Cisco Live are, hands down, the best conference sessions I’ve ever attended. You won’t be disappointed. Session scheduling opens up closer to the event itself. As soon as sessions become available to schedule jump online and do it right away. If they sessions fill up you’ll get waitlisted – which means you can only attend the session if there are open seats after the presentation has started. Don’t get left outside, register early!

Pro tip – There’s a lot of great sessions and sometimes they overlap with another. Cisco Live presentations are always available on-demand shortly after the conclusion of the big event. Dig through the On-Demand Library and check out the sessions you missed.

5. It’s a marathon, not a race! – Pace yourself. This is a big conference and as exciting as it is to attend don’t book yourself up. Leave yourself some free time in between sessions to relax, explore, do a little work, and most importantly – hydrate and refuel! Not doing these things could lead to being burnt out, even after only a day, which could put a serious damper on your conference experience.

6. Up your Social Media Game – There is a team of people working for Cisco Live on Twitter. They love seeing all the action people are getting into while at Cisco Live. For Cisco Live US attendees make sure you follow @CiscoLive (and while you’re at it follow me – @noblinkyblinky) and use the hashtag #CLUS. You never know when one of your tweets or photos will be featured on the display boards around the CLUS campus! Get involved leading up to the conference, too, to win some cool prizes, and opportunities to get backstage with guest speakers!

CiscoLive US Twitter Profile

Also, attend the Tweetup events! There is an Arrival Tweetup and a Departure Tweetup. The Social Media Hub crew gets everyone together for a group photo. Check out last year’s Arrival Tweetup Group Photo!

CLUS 2019 Tweetup Schedule

7. Get on Webex Teams – Sign up for a free Cisco Webex Teams account and keep the conversation going long after you walk out of your sessions. Every session has an associated Teams room. These rooms allow you to ask questions, connect with other attendees, and get copies of presentations, or scripts and other materials if the presenter decides to share them with you.

Look for Cisco Webex Teams in your app store

8. Pack Lite – You’re going to be doing a lot of walking! Do yourself a favor and only carry what you absolutely have to. Last year I set myself up so that I was able to perform the majority of my primary job responsibilities from my smartphone and tablet. This allowed me to ditch the laptop during the day, which saved me! I use the Apple iPad Pro 10.5 with the Smart Keyboard Cover. I also carry my Anker Portable Charger so I can keep my stuff charged, and I have the Bose Sound Sport wireless earbuds that are great for working out, and taking calls while at the conference.

9. Download the Cisco Events App – The Cisco Events App is available in all major app stores. Once downloaded, sign into the app with the same credentials you used to register. You can use this app to pick up your attendee conference badge, manage your schedule, be notified of important events, and complete surveys for the sessions you attend. Cisco and session presenters take this feedback very seriously. Your feedback helps to shape future Cisco Live events.

10. Attend the Keynote sessions – The keynote sessions are where major announcements happen. Recently, at Cisco Live Barcelona the major keynote announcement was the new release of HypFlex 4.0, which saw massive improvements to edge computing with HyperFlex Anywhere. Cisco also brings out amazing guest speakers to highlight how their technology has made an impact.

Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins, on stage in Orlando at Cisco Live US 2018

11. Spend some time in the Solutions Expo – The expo highlights sponsors and partners, and various Cisco Programs. There’s a Certification Lounge, so make sure you stop by and pick up cool swag corresponding to any Cisco Certifications you hold. Make sure you attend some sessions in the Cisco Devnet area and get some real hands-on experience, explore the Cisco TacOps truck, and play some fun games to win some cool prizes! Also, make sure you attend the NOC sessions and see the technology in use to keep data flowing for all attendees while at the conference.

12. Attend the Customer Appreciate Event – Last year the CAE was at Universal Studios. There, attendees got to hang out with Homer Simpson and other infamous Universal Studios Characters. We got to rock out with live performances from Sam Hunt and enjoy free food and drinks all evening long. The CAE is also where attendees pick up their Cisco Live hat. The hat is an annual tradition that reaches far back to the Cisco Networkers days. Every year new fun hats are handed out at the event.

My hats from CLUS 2017 and 2018
The entrance to Universal Studios the night of the CAE, CLUS 2018.

Whether you’re a first-time attendee or a NetVet hopefully my tips will help you have a successful conference!

For more great tips you can use check out other attendees blogs here.

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