TechEd Session Question

Monday, April 14, 2008

I recently answered a question from a first time TechEd attendee about sessions.

"I will be a Tech-Ed newbie in Orlando, FL. I have attended VMware conferences and VMware allows you to sign-up for sessions (sign-ups get in first).With 10,000 attendees, I don't want to be at the end of long lines. Is there a sign-up website for registered attendees? Or how do I avoid the long lines to get into a session? Or are the "session" room space large enough to accommodate big groups?

Thanks,Ben (age 55 with bad feet)"

The TechEd 2008 Session Builder is now open. This is where you can register for the sessions you'd like to attend and gives Microsoft advanced notice how to schedule the rooms. However, when you add a session to your schedule by using the Schedule Builder tool, you are not guaranteed a seat in your selected session. Sessions are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis.

There is very rarely a problem attending any session you want. The Orlando Convention Center is HUGE and has very large rooms capable of holding 300+ people. Of course, some rooms are smaller and hold less, but generally MS does a very good job of "sizing" the room for the number of people who show interest in a topic. In the 5 years I've gone, I've only been turned away from one session that was too full.

By signing up for your conference sessions early, MS can gauge the interest and set the right room size. Often they will offer multiple sessions on the same topic if interest is great enough.

To be honest, I usually double or triple book myself for different sessions at the same time. That allows me to jump out of a session that isn't up to snuff and go to my second (or third) choice. All they do is read your name badge with an RFID scanner as you go in. This isn't to make sure that you've already registered, it's to track interest. I've had no trouble going into a session I didn't register for.

Hope this helps and have a great time!

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