CMS/DITA North America 2014 organization is now well under way: the lists of exhibitors and speakers are now available on the website, along with the agenda, packed with over 70 fantastic presentations. As experienced attendees and exhibitors to the event, the team at Componize would like to share a few tips to make the most of these hectic 3 days.

1- Tick off the presentations you want to attend

Use the agenda and plan ahead which presentations you must see. There are four tracks available: Information Design and Development, Technical Solutions, Management, and Emerging Technologies. If you are with one of several colleagues you can decide together what each of you would rather attend. You may also meet every day to check who’s learned what, update your schedules, and share takeaways.

2- Keep your energy for the conference. Don’t waste it on travelling

Plan to arrive Sunday or Saturday if you are travelling from overseas.
Starting a conference with a bad jet lag is not a good idea. It’s worth adding a night to keep your energy for the conference. And the plane tickets may sell cheaper on a Saturday too.

3- Make the most of social events – have some fun

The conference organizers plan social events on the Sunday night and the Monday night. If you can, attend the Sunday night social party, not only can you register and can bypass the queue Monday, but you’ll be able to meet a smaller crowd on the first evening. Less intimidating and more fun. Note the hashtags for the conference – spontaneous nights out may be organized this way.

4- Say “Hi!” to the vendors

The vendors are here to help you achieve your goals. Most of the vendors at the conference support the conference itself and donate time and expertise to presentations. Take the time to meet and discuss your project – you’ll find help, and maybe hatch some new ideas.

5- Talk to the speakers…

Don’t be shy: a missed opportunity to ask that question to the experts may not present itself until… well, next year! Questions also help the presenters refine their thoughts and may foster new ideas. Check the speakers’ list. You can event get more information in advance on their blogs, sites, or twitter accounts.

6- Fill in the evaluation forms

Briefs and feedbacks make the best events! If you think the conference was great, say it! If you think there is some room for improvement, express yourself! Feedback and constructive comments help the organizers keep the conference subjects on the right path. Also provide feedback to the speakers – I guarantee it helps!

7- One final tip

If you have a twitter account, note the following: #cmsconference | @Center4infoDev

We hope these few tips will help you plan ahead and make the most of your conference.

Where will we be?

As a sponsor to this leading conference, Componize can meet you at one of the presentations, during the social events, or at our booth! To arrange a formal meeting, contact us at info@componize.com.

Frank Shipley, our chief technical officer, will deliver Tuesday morning an easy-to-understand presentation on release management and how to control better multiple versions of your content! As a member of the DITA open toolkit tech calls, Frank will also participate in theDITA-OT panel wednesday morning.

See you in Seattle!