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24 Tips for Surviving the ‘24 Adobe Summit

The annual Adobe Summit is one of the more amazing technology conferences each year. Scheduled from March 25 to March 28 in Las Vegas, there can be anywhere from 12,000 to 18,000 in attendance, coming from all sorts of industries, backgrounds, and experience levels.  There will be Adobe prospects, clients, and partners, along with a significant number of Adobe subject matter experts and technology leaders.  The guest speakers are always a great mixture of public luminaries, best-selling authors, and the highest levels of corporate executives. This year you can go listen to Shaq, and the CEO of General Motors, along with the CMO of Amazon Prime to name a few. It is hard not to walk away from an Adobe Summit completely recharged in your love of their software!  Whether this year is your first time attending, or you’re a seasoned “Summitter” – check out the tips below so you can ensure you make the most of your time there in Vegas!


Planning Tips:


  1. Study the agenda. Set your goals for what you want to get out of the summit and sessions by doing your research ahead of time.[DS1]  Look into key topics and important discussions and create your personal agenda & timeline.

  2. Set specific objectives that you want to understand about Adobe Campaign, ACS, AJO, etc.  What’s coming in their roadmap, what are other companies doing with the products that you need to consider and how can you optimize what your company is doing with the platform are a few of the things to be on the lookout for.

  3. If you are going with one or more co-workers, divide and conquer the sessions so you can maximize the information gathering and content being presented.

  4. Be sure to sit in on a couple of the guest speaker sessions (e.g., Shaq, GM CEO, BestBuy Head of Marketing, etc.)!  These sessions can provide some of the more interesting insights and glimpses ahead into what Adobe has coming down the line.

  5. Plan for walking and queueing time. Guest Speaker sessions and sessions showing off new reveals are typically the most popular, so seating can be competitive. Head over to those sessions a bit early to get a good seat.

  6. Remember that there is also a ‘Hallway Track’.  The Hallway Track is a valuable source of information that can come from chatting with one or more people in the hallway at the venue.  Don’t feel the need to break off a great conversation to get to a session; sometimes the hallway track is a wonderful source of information!

  7. Prepare a list of questions that you want to get answers to when you are in the various sessions.

  8. Schedule a meeting with your Adobe rep(s) and/or service support staff to meet them in person ahead of the Summit.  Remember they will have busy schedules too so line up a meeting early. The same goes for Partners, the Summit is a great place to connect in person and talk through goals and strategy for the coming year.  They may also be able to help point out interesting sessions you might have missed.


Networking Tips:


  1. Try not to use your smartphone in situations where it may make you look unapproachable for conversations. The phone can become a ‘shield’ and send the message that you are too busy to speak or engage in a conversation.

  2. Be sure you have the mobile LinkedIn app on your phone.  This way you can connect right there in the moment via LinkedIn with someone you want to stay in touch with.

  3. Search for good conversations – join breakfast or lunch tables (where you can) to meet and talk with people you don’t know. This is the largest group of like-minded people all there for a similar purpose and interest, so starting conversations on Adobe topics is totally expected.  Prioritize networking with other attendees, so you can exchange ideas and insights with like-minded professionals from around the country.

  4. If you find yourself in a small circle having a conversation, make a small space for someone else to physically join your conversation. That small gesture of creating a physical opening encourages others to join your group. Otherwise, the closed circle is a message that others aren’t necessarily welcome to join.  

  5. Space out your time to attend a few social events.  It can be tempting to go to one event for the evening as you want time to relax.  But consider attending multiple ones per night so that you can be exposed to a greater variety of Adobe contacts and discussions.

  6. Utilize social media – post pictures or keynotes from a session you attended. Also be sure to bring lots of business cards.  You can connect in other automated ways with QR codes and the LinkedIn mobile app, but in some situations, a business card can do the trick.

  7. Consider using an app (like CamCard) to capture people’s business card info, and to store a few nuggets about your conversation.  Or simply write a few notes on the back of their business card to jog your memory of the conversation when you return home from the event.

  8. Participate in the larger conversations that go on – via the Adobe posted #hashtags.   This is a great way to see what people are posting, what questions getting answered and see what the hot new topics are.


Essential Tips:


  1. Capture the key session insights with notes.  Determine ahead of time what the best mechanism will be for you to take notes easily during the sessions (e.g., phone, iPad, written notes). At the end of each session you attend, write down 3 key takeaways and any follow-up you want to do on the topic or with the speakers.

  2. Chat with the speaker after the session and introduce yourself where possible. Part of the job of the speaker is to answer questions afterwards, and your access to the speakers is part of the cost of your ticket to the Summit. Ask them questions about their presentations if you’re at the same table at lunch, or if you bump into them at one of the social events.

  3. Don’t be shy. If there is a particular person you'd like to talk to at the Summit, you absolutely can walk up to them and introduce yourself. You don't need to wait to be formally introduced by someone else. If you admire someone's research or if you particularly enjoyed their session, then tell them. Everyone likes to hear that others appreciate their work!

  4. Have your own 30-second company or personal pitch to describe your company and/or yourself.  

  5. Set aside your usual workload as best you can and set your out-of-office email signature (even though you know you will probably check in periodically)!

  6. Take your time and know that you don’t have to see everything.  Typically recorded videos and PowerPoints are available after the event for sessions you may have missed.

  7. Make time to see the booths and get some swag!  Also schedule some downtime to recharge and relax. It’s a busy show but make sure you take time to eat a healthy meal and recharge.

  8. Wear comfortable shoes – as you can easily put in 20,000 steps a day.  Additionally, the temperature inside the conference venue can range from cold to hot, so layering is key.  Drink lots of water and bring ChapStick!   Las Vegas and the indoor venue can be drying, so hydration is critical.



What Should You Do After the Summit?


Take some time after you return home to decompress – but not too long as it’s important to organize and document the information you gathered.  Connect with people that you met on LinkedIn and send short notes to them while the information is still fresh in your mind. 


Finally, share and teach your colleagues what you learned.  The slogan, ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ goes out the window in this case.  The information you gained is likely to be very useful to your team.  Whether you lead a few lunch-and-learns or post content in your knowledgebase for the team to read, this goes a long way in establishing you as a leader, collaborator, and sharer of information within your team!

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