How to Prepare for IT Nation Explore

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This blog post was originally published on May 20, 2019.

Whether this is your first IT Nation Explore, partner conference by ConnectWise, or you’re a veteran of IT Nation events in the past, it never hurts get tips and tricks from seasoned attendees. Hear from ConnectWise colleagues and presenting partners on how to make the most of networking, breakout sessions, training, and more at IT Nation Explore.

Devon Barrett-Barron, software training consultant at ConnectWise, has been to three IT Nation Explores (formerly Automation Nations), and he enjoys the ability to network with ConnectWise partners and colleagues. To help attendees prep for success, he recommends three critical items: comfortable shoes, a water bottle, and business cards. His piece of advice? Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Speakers love when you are engaged with them and make for a better discussion! (Click here to see all the sessions Devon will present this year.)

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Jacob Coffman, senior product manager for ConnectWise Manage, has been to 10 IT Nation Explores! His favorite thing about the event each year is running into old friends and making new connections each year. His advice for attendees is to go into it with a ‘Yes’ mentality. Don’t feel self-conscious; get out there and have a good time. Meet someone new and ask the questions you have. This event is for you; make it your own. (Learn more about Jacob and see what he’s presenting this year.)

Charles Lawrence is a software training consultant at ConnectWise who has attended IT Nation Explore twice in the past. He enjoys meeting partners and understanding their pain points because it helps him deliver more relevant and helpful sessions. To make sure he’s set up for success, Charles makes sure he packs everything he needs and walks into the day with the right mindset. He also makes a plan for what questions he wants answered, and any processes or ideas he wants to run by his peers. His advice to new attendees? Be as open-minded as possible. It’s a rare opportunity to be totally surrounded by like-minded peers. Take advantage of this and network, talk about business and even more importantly, understand how they manage their business and life. Definitely make a plan of what session you want to see but be open to some that maybe weren’t on your radar initially; you might walk away with something unexpectedly great! Scout out the floorplan early, so you know where you’re going—it makes a difference. (See the sessions Charles is presenting this year.)

Michael Sirota, director of sales and service at Rational Business Solutions, Inc., is a ConnectWise partner attending IT Nation Explore for the fourth time. His favorite things about the event are the networking and the content. IT Nation Explore provides him with the opportunity to learn from and engage with content matter experts on key functionality items that will help him improve how he uses both ConnectWise Manage and ConnectWise Automate. One of the best things about the conference is he has the ability to speak with peers about how they use the products and gain best practice advice from people who use it every day. He always comes away with some great things to implement when he returns to work.

His recipe for success is to review the agenda and sessions and focus on specific areas to hone in on. He also sets a goal for the conference and finds sessions that will help him support that goal. His advice for new attendees? Whether it is by networking or attending sessions, get involved and speak up. You get out of it what you put in. If you make an effort to connect with peers and the presenters, you will reap huge benefits.

Erin Albertson, product marketing manager for ConnectWise Automate, is attending her sixth IT Nation Explore this year, and her favorite thing is connecting with partners—familiar faces and new. Before she heads to the event, she downloads the mobile app and reserves sessions on her calendar, so she stays informed on the items that interest her. Her advice to partners is to put yourself out there and talk with your peers. The community is there for you and this event that connects you to it. (See Erin’s sessions at IT Nation Explore here.)

Mitchell Rollo, software training consultant at ConnectWise, is attending IT Nation Explore for the third time this year. Every year, he most looks forward to talking to all the partners who attend the event. His advice is to pack a survival kit with cough drops, Tylenol, tissue, hand sanitizer, and band-aids. He also suggests making it to breakfast every morning to ensure you’re awake, have a good meal to start your day, and feel energized, so you don’t miss a thing! (See the sessions that Mitchell is presenting on this year.)

James Riley, owner of JNR Networks, is a ConnectWise partner who hasn’t missed an IT Nation Explore and will be presenting this year. His favorite things about the event are connecting with people and hearing from different speakers. Hearing from speakers allows and forces him to think outside of the box and inspires him to think differently. Even if he doesn’t totally agree with what they are saying, the process of considering their ideas and insight is valuable. He also said the caliber of people at this event makes it worth it just to be around them!

Before heading to the event, he does everything he can to empower his team at home, so he’s able to leave work behind him. He owes it to himself and his team to ensure he can leave work behind, as much as is possible, and focus on being fully present at the conference. His advice to new attendees is to research the sessions ahead of time. You will greatly benefit by taking some time before you show up to look through the different sessions and figure out what you want to attend. Because there are a number of repeated sessions, sometimes, you have multiple sessions in the same time block, but one might be repeated so you can adjust and make sure you get to all of the critical sessions. (You can learn more about James and his session here.)

Parker Trojanowski, product manager of ConnectWise Sell, is attending his fourth IT Nation Explore this year. Parker’s favorite thing about the event is hearing from the technicians, administrators, and sales reps who are using the tool and getting their feedback. He likes hearing what they love about the platform, as well as the struggles they have. To make sure he has a successful event, he always packs snacks, water bottles, and makes sure to get extra sleep before leading up to the event. His advice is to not be afraid to talk to other people and make connections. The people you meet at meals, sessions, and focus groups are typically contacts you have for years, and you can bounce ideas off of them and learn some pretty cool tips and tricks. (See Parker’s IT Nation Explore sessions here.)

Renee Bergstresser, software training consultant at ConnectWise, is attending her second IT Nation Explore. She loves talking with partners between sessions about what they’ve learned so far at the event and the challenges they’re facing in their businesses. To get the most out of her experience, she makes sure to pack a bag with a water bottle, her laptop charger, and extra batteries for her mouse and clicker for her presentations. She also downloads the mobile app to make sure she’s prepared for the event. Her advice is that if you aren’t sure which sessions to attend, talk to the presenters! They're usually in the room early setting up and happy to help make sure you're in the right session. (See all of Renee’s sessions at IT Nation Explore.)

Dee Cater, product marketing manager for ConnectWise Control, is attending IT Nation Explore for the first time this year. To prep for her first event, she’s planning her agenda out in advance and downloading the mobile app. She plans to get the most out of the event by dividing up sessions with her ConnectWise colleagues and then sharing notes with the broader team after the event. From there, she’ll create an action plan for how to implement what’s been discussed. (See what Dee is presenting here.)

Now that you have all that information, all that’s left is to pack, plan your session schedule, and get ready to network with your peers. We’ll see you next month in Orlando for IT Nation Explore!

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