It is almost time for the annual Autodesk University, which is AU 2014 this year. Since I attended Autodesk University for 17 consecutive years, I thought that I would give some advice to first time attendees. It seems that there is a large percentage of 1st time attendees each year, so maybe some of them will read this blog and get some tips.
Autodesk University can be an excellent experience and source of information or a waste of time, depending on how the attendee utilizes their time. Make it beneficial. It is very expensive to attend and you want to make it worth the cost.
- Sign up for as many beneficial classes as possible for your area of interest.
- Speak to others around your meal table. Don’t just keep to yourself even if you are an introvert. Ask others where they are from, what software they use, their professional discipline, what type of work they do, etc.
- Make new friends and business contacts. There are many people in my life that are there because of meeting them through AU over the years.
- Be willing to share your experience with others in your conversations.
- Be nice to the presenters. Most of them have spent a tremendous amount of time preparing their presentations and handouts for the class.
- Search out opportunities to increase your knowledge.
- Check out as many booths in the exhibit as you can. Even check out booths for disciplines other than your own. You may be amazed at what is interesting or may even benefit you.
- Leave room in your luggage for the “stuff” that you get at AU.
- Find people (presenters or other attendees) that you would like to follow on Twitter.
- Follow @autodesku on Twitter. That will help you keep up with changes and events at AU.
- Install the AU2014 app to your smartphone or tablet.
- Complete evaluations for the classes. (Be nice and honest, but be critical of presenter if no handout was provided since that was part of their contract.)
- Take advantage of the free certification exams.
- Get copies of the handouts for your classes and any others that are of interest to you.
- Attend the Freshman Orientation. An experienced AU attendee wants to help you have a better AU experience. I enjoyed my time being a volunteer for that that role and helping my “freshmen” throughout the week.
- Attend informal sessions and don’t feel that every session that you attend has to be a formal class.
- Take advantage of the knowledge of the many Autodesk professionals that are there to help you. There is not a better time for most Autodesk users to get information straight from Autodesk employees that are “in the know” and have a direct answer for you.
- Be professional.
- When attending a session, listening to a keynote presentation, speaking with a vendor, or talking to another attendee, think about how you can use that information to enhance your learning experience and apply it to your work or life.
- Share your experiences with others to help them.
- Have a water bottle handy as the climate is very dry and you need to keep hydrated.
- When you leave the conference at the end of the week, mark the bag that you get from AU for attending. If you get on a plane, there will be LOTS of those same bags in the overhead bins.
- Enjoy yourself.
- Don’t try to talk to a presenter while they are setting up for the presentation. They have a lot on their mind in order to provide a quality presentation to everyone attending the session.
- Don’t show up late for a session and be a distraction while entering.
- Don’t disrupt people around you in a class. Even if you may know the information already, those around may not and want to hear what is being said.
- Don’t snore if you fall asleep during a class.
- Don’t party all night and skip the morning classes.
- Don’t get drunk and make yourself or your company look bad.
- Don’t leave the conference after your classes are done for the day. There is a lot going on around the conference during non-class hours.
- Don’t be the “know-it-all” person during Q&A times. There are a lot of knowledgeable people in the room with you, including the presenter.
- Don’t expect the presenter for a class that you attend to forever be your free technical support after leaving the conference.
- Don’t think that you must immediately implement every new technology that Autodesk discusses. Your company may not be ready for it.
- Don’t take freebies from vendors if you will only throw it away later. That isn’t nice.
- Don’t stuff your pockets or bags with the snacks during snack time. That isn’t nice either.
Enjoy your time at the conference and make it beneficial to you.