Two conferences call for sessions for Fall 2011

The two conferences that cover topics of interest to Exchange, including Exchange itself, SharePoint, and Windows, have issued calls for sessions for their Fall conferences. TEC’s Fall event is in Frankfurt, Germany from 17-19 October while Fall Connections is in Las Vegas from October 31 to November 2.

The TEC call for sessions is described here. Connections looks for proposals for its conference in a slightly different manner by sending email to folks that the conference chairs believe are suitable presenters. I guess this method has the advantage of selecting from a well-defined and well-known pool but I prefer to cast a net far and wide to see who would like to volunteer for the job. With this in mind I’ve included the text sent by Connections below. If you’d like to propose a session, please send email to Jim McBee using the address JMcBee AT

I encourage anyone who considers them to be knowledgeable about Exchange, SharePoint, or Windows (Active Directory is a primary focus of TEC) to consider submitting a session to the conference of your choice. The very best sessions are based on hard experience and contain tips and techniques that are forged in the fire of battle. Anyone can deliver a marketing-style fly-by through a set of new features and bore an audience silly, especially if that audience has paid good money to come and learn. Getting up in front of your peers and helping them to share your experience and knowledge is a wonderfully fulfilling thing to do and it can help you expand your horizons in different ways: in your career (good communications skills are always an advantage for those who want to succeed), in professional associations (Microsoft selects MVPs based on contribution to the community and presenting at major conferences is a great way of proving your contribution), or just by being part of the team who delivers great content at great conferences.

So go on – think about it – and extend yourself by submitting a session! Both conferences have deadlines for submissions so you should get your thinking caps on.

– Tony

Text of message to potential Connections speakers:


   The Fall 2011 Exchange Connections conference planning is well underway.   The conference will be October 31 – Nov 2 with pre-conference sessions on Sunday October 30 and Thursday November 3.  Microsoft Day will more than likely be Monday October 31.

  So, it is that time for you to put your thinking caps on and come up with some brilliant session ideas for which the Exchange and Unified Communication masses will cheer!   We are looking for a balance of about 60% Exchange content, 30%, and 10% cloud (such as Office 365). 

We don’t know exactly how many session slots are going to be available for this show yet nor do we know if we are going to have a travel budget for international travelers.  For those of you from outside the US, we want to keep you in the loop on session proposals in the event we have more international shows.  In general, speakers are expected to present at 3 sessions per conference.  Please submit to me at least 3 (if not 4 or 5) abstracts.

Please provide me at least 3 (if not 4 or 5) proposal abstracts by April 26.  Microsoft presenters: You may be asked to present on Microsoft Day in which case this deadline may not apply to you. I can put you in touch with the Microsoft Day coordinator.

Our strong preference is for you to present material that has never been used at other public conferences or events.  Connections attendees expect to come and hear material that is valuable and not a rerun from a previous event. However, we accept that there are situations when you may want to propose material that has been used elsewhere and in these circumstances we expect you to tell us why. For example, it is appropriate to propose a session for a European conference that was previously presented at US Connections. It may be appropriate to propose a session for Fall Connections that was used at Spring Connections, providing that this session was well received by the attendees. It may also be appropriate for a Microsoft presenter to present a session that was previously an internal-only Microsoft session.

Connections attendees have told us that they need some guidance as to what sessions they should attend. Please tell us who should attend your session and what they will learn by attending. It’s helpful to categorize sessions as follows:

–              Technology Overview

–              Deep dive

–              Best practices

–              Notes from the field

In no case is it appropriate to present marketing-style material at Connections. We know that there is a strong preference for material that is at the 300 level (as used at TechEd) or higher. Remember that so much information is available through TechNet, blogs, magazines, and books today that a real challenge exists to build a session that captures an audience and provides real value to attendees. Sessions that are based on hard experience, that tell people how to avoid deployment problems, and assist them to succeed in their projects are always popular and well-received. Sessions that merely go through features of new products or new versions are not. 

We are expecting high quality abstracts from you.  The abstract should be between 125 and 200 words.  Your abstract should set the attendees expectations as to the type of content, what they will learn, and who should attend.  Catchy titles are cool, but the session content is still king. Below is an example (with a not very catchy title):

EXC01: My Exchange Server is on a Fault Line (Establishing an Exchange 2010 Disaster Recovery Site)

This session describes a number of best practices from organizations that have deployed Exchange 2010 Database Availability Groups (DAGs) across multiple sites to enhance their high availability capabilities and enable immediate restoration of service if disaster strikes the primary datacenter. Establishing a disaster recovery site for Exchange 2010 is more than adding an additional Exchange server and a few mouse clicks. Through in-depth discussion of practical notes from real-life deployments, attendees will learn about disaster recovery site prerequisites, common disaster recovery scenarios, and design issues to take in to consideration when deploying a disaster recovery site. This session will also include detailed coverage of the steps necessary to switch over to the disaster recovery site and how to switch back. Exchange administrators planning to extend DAGs across multiple datacenters to provide disaster recovery capabilities should attend. A basic knowledge of Exchange 2010 and Windows Failover clustering is recommended. Exchange administrators that are planning to stretch DAGs across multiple sites will benefit from attending this session. 

Finally, if your sessions are selected, we will expect that you will help promote your sessions and the conference through your blog, your Web site, your personal Facebook, your user groups, the Conference Facebook site, or Twitter. Nothing elaborate, but at least a mention that you are speaking at Connections on topic X, Y, and Z. The Exchange Connections Facebook page can be found here:

If you have some specific ideas you would like to run by me, please feel free to forward them on.

Thanks much!

Jim McBee


About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
This entry was posted in Active Directory, Exchange 2010, Office 365, SharePoint 2010, Technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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