Cisco Live is an action-packed event, the one most of the Cisco user community looks forward to attending every year, where can you get education, exposure and make connections at the same time all in one place! You can attend many breakout, lab and technical seminars, and keynote sessions, get exposure through DevNet, Walk-In Self-Paced Labs and the World of Solutions demos from Cisco and its ecosystem partners. But just as important is to making encounters with other fellow peers! So how do you make the most out of it? This is what this blog is about!

 

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1. What to do before Cisco Live

You may need to convince your manager to support you attending Cisco Live both from a financial perspective (registration and travel) and to have someone covering for your job back home. See the links below for the official “Convince your Boss” proposal. You can even use Learning Credits to pay for the registration!

 

Register and choose an event package. Not all packages give you the opportunity to attend the education sessions, be sure to know what you’re purchasing. If registering early on, you’ll take advantage of the early bird price. As soon as you register, book your hotel from the available list and finalize all your other travel needs. Observe that technical seminars happen on Sunday!

 

Next  is the time for you to choose the sessions you want to attend. You can attend both sessions from topics in your area of expertise to broaden your knowledge, and learn about new and trending topics. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to change your selections onsite. Don’t go overboard as you’ll want to leave time for other activities.Look at the Week at a Glance so that you know what will be open and when. Now, searching through uncountable sessions could be daunting, but the Cisco Live team did a great job at organizing the content so you can filter and more easily find the sessions you’re looking for: by learning path, by experience, by session type, by track, by technology, by technical level, or by date. If you plan to attend the CCDE Certification-related sessions at Cisco Live, check the offerings available.

 

Once you know your schedule, find a block to register for one free or deeply discounted Cisco written certification exam - refer to the link on your event registration confirmation to schedule your exam. As you can imagine, this also goes pretty quickly, and once you’re onsite the exam will cost you (or cost more). Study for that exam, taking advantage of the no-cost to either becoming certified or being qualified for the lab/practical exam. Please observe CCDE practical exams are not offered onsite as they’re delivered exclusively through the VUE PPCs and not the regular VUE testing centers.

 

Connect through social media and find out which of your peers are also attending Cisco Live and plan to meet with them, but plan also to expand your horizons with brand new connections. Bring your business cards.

 

Pack really comfortable shoes!

 

 

2. What to do during Cisco Live

Register onsite to get your badge and backpack. Allow plenty of time, especially on your first day, to get to your first session.

 

Download the Cisco Live app and have your schedule at your fingertips, take end-of-session surveys, be a part of what’s going on on social media, get announcements and reminders, and participate in contests.

 

First time at Cisco Live? There are some opportunities to get to know all Cisco Live can offer on the Cisco Live Orientation sessions.

 

When attending your sessions, download the PDF of the presentations, take lots of notes, and at the end of each session make sure to summarize it with the 3-5 key takeaways. This will be good because, after many sessions, you’ll feel like you’re drinking from the firehose.

 

Familiarize yourself with and participate in the many activities and demos besides the sessions that are going on, such as DevNet Zone, Walk-In Self-Paced Labs (WISP), Connected Women’s Panel, and visit the World of Solutions for Cisco solutions and solutions from its ecosystem partners. Also take notes and summarize with the 3-5 key takeaways. Collect business cards or Twitter handles.

 

Connect with us. Connect with old peers and make new ones. Connect through social media. We are available between sessions, through the several programs such as Beers with Engineers, Meet The Engineer, Technical Solutions Clinic, and the social events. If you’re CCIE or CCDE in good standing, stop by the Certification/CCIE Lounge to mingle with fellow experts. Be part of the action, grow your network, and show off your new knowledge by Tweetting using the event’s Twitter handle and hashtag. Participate at the Tweetup at the Social Media Hub and put a face to a Tweeter handle

 

If “that” work-related conference call can’t be postponed, schedule it to a free block on your schedule.

 

Stay hydrated. Get the giveaways

 

Have fun with your old and new peers at the Customer Appreciation Event.

 

Beware of rumors. There are a lot of unofficial opinions out there and unavoidably rumors too. Carefully choose your sources of information.

 

Not able to attend in person? Attend virtually on CiscoLive365. It’s not the same thing, though…

 

 

3. What to do after Cisco Live

Grief. If you’re like me, you’ll feel tired but you’ll immediately miss Cisco Live the minute it’s over.

 

Connect with us, partners, old and new peers through social media or send personalized messages. Keep in touch.

 

Remember the notes and key takeaways you took as you attended the sessions? With them, you’ll be able to easily report back to your manager what you got out of the investment they made on you. This can be a ticket for you and/or other team members to attend next year’s Cisco Live.

 

Share what you’ve learnt through blogs and social media.

 

 

What are your favorite things about Cisco Live? Is there a topic you want to hear about on my upcoming blogs? Add it to the comments field!

 

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Elaine Lopes is the CCDE and CCAr Certifications Program Manager and Team Lead for the CCIE program team, and she’s passionate about how lives can change for the better through education and certification.

 

 

 

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