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With IBM World of Watson just over a week away, it’s not too early to ensure that you optimize every learning, networking and social opportunity. This is a vast conference with many activities, so some pre-planning will help you focus on what’s most important to you. These simple tips can help you make the most of your experience before, during and after the event.

Before you attend
Don’t wait until you’re on the plane or walking into the conference to familiarize yourself with the event. Take some time in the next several weeks to review the conference web site and create a personal agenda that includes the top activities you want to experience.

Plan your agenda
We have a number of helpful tools to help you easily create a customized agenda and ensure you don’t miss a thing:

  • Download the 2016 Predictive Analytics Conference Guide for all of the IBM SPSS predictive analytics activities.
  • What better technology to guide you through World of Watson than…Watson? Before you arrive in Las Vegas, use the cognitive session expert to build a personalized agenda.
  • Get personalized recommendations on your phone or tablet using the IBM Events mobile app.
  • Be sure to sign up for IBMGo for streaming World of Watson content such as keynotes, interviews and more.
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    Set your goals
    Choose one or two goals that are the most important to you and focus on the content and opportunities that will help you reach them. Are you looking to learn something new, find a solution to a business problem, meet people and network, or find a vendor?

    Find like-minded attendees
    Social media can be a great way to reach out to other attendees who have posted with the event hashtag prior to the conference. Start up a conversation or even make plans to meet at the event.

    If you’re active on social media, and plan to post live from World of Watson, research potential influencers, follow them and retweet their posts so they are more likely to engage with your event content.

    Prepare some talking points
    When dining with other attendees or attending networking events, arm yourself with a list of questions to help fill gaps in the conversation and meet new people. For example:

  • What are you hoping to gain from the conference?
  • How are you enjoying the event?
  • What’s your favorite experience so far?
  • Who has been your favorite speaker?
  • Have you been to an IBM conference before?
  • While you’re there
    Once you arrive in Las Vegas, the real fun begins!

    Get social
    What happens at World of Watson shouldn’t stay at World of Watson! Share your personal experience and insights with all of the people who couldn’t attend but are following along on social media. It’s easy to build up your social and professional network by posting live from the event. Expressing your personal point of view about keynotes or breakout sessions can help establish you as a subject matter expert and boost your social profile.

    Remember: Always use the event hashtag #ibmwow when posting about the conference so your content can be found easily.

    You can also follow IBM SPSS on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

    Connect with speakers
    The speakers and panelists at any conference are likely key experts in your field—read: people who you want to know. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or hang around (even as the last person) at a session to say hello, tell them you loved the presentation, and grab their business cards. And if you don’t get a chance to ask your question in person, you can always follow up by asking them on Twitter.

    Make time for fun
    Your primary goal at World of Watson will be to learn as much as you can about new developments in data and analytics. But make sure you take time away from breakout sessions and panel discussions to take advantage of the lighter side of the conference. For example:

  • Visit the Cognitive Bakery to discover delicious strategies to monetize data.
  • Kick the tires of Olli the self-driving Smart Shuttle.
  • View the cognitive dress co-designed by Marchesa and IBM Watson.
  • Meet Pepper, the Watson-powered robot.
  • See Imagine Dragons perform in an exclusive show just for World of Watson attendees.
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    Wear comfortable shoes
    This might actually be the most important advice of all. Nothing will cramp your conference style like blistered feet, so bring your cross trainers or favorite walking shoes and be ready for all that World of Watson has in store for you!

    After the conference
    Now that you’re back at the office, there are still things you can do to continue to get value out your World of Watson experience.

    Follow up
    Chances are you collected business cards, made new Facebook friends, and Twitter followers, and expanded your LinkedIn connections. Now it’s time to do something with that information. Within a week of returning from the event, send a personal note to everyone you met to let them know you enjoyed meeting them. For those you specifically want to do business with, set up a phone call or face-to-face meeting.

    Share your knowledge
    Hopefully, you gained a lot of new information, inspiration, and contacts at World of Watson. Wouldn’t it be great to share those resources with your co-workers and peers? Send out videos of your favorite sessions or make a presentation at your next staff meeting outlining what you learned about how to meet the challenges of the cognitive era.

    See Grammy-award winning rockers Imagine Dragons in an exclusive performance at IBM Insight at World of Watson.

    Join us October 24-27, 2016 in Las Vegas
    IBM Insight at World of Watson is the premier data and analytics event offering:

  • 1,500 sessions exploring cognitive, analytics, IoT, commerce, and much more
  • 200+ hands-on labs and game-changing certifications
  • 500+ IBM clients sharing their real-world experiences with cognitive solutions
  • Hundreds of immersive cognitive experiences
  • $8,000 worth of training and education for each attendee
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