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Oktane 101: Tips for Networking, Note-Taking, and Smart Agendas

Katie Batten
Senior Customer Conference Marketing Manager

Conferences can be intense, but that's what makes them so worthwhile. Instead of doing classes and modules over several months, a conference gives you tons of new insights, know-how, and networking opportunities with peers and professionals jam-packed into a few rewarding days.

That’s what Oktane sets out to do each year — and Oktane18 is no different. Not only do we have an impressive line-up of keynote speakers (check them out here!) but we’re also offering pre-conference training, over 50 breakout sessions across seven focuses, and sneak peeks into our roadmap ahead.

We want you to make the most of your chance to meet with and learn from thousands of other IT leaders. That’s why we’ve rounded up some some of our favorite tips to help you maximize your time at Oktane18.

Map out your must-see sessions

The best way to take full advantage of Oktane18 is to have a concrete plan in place. With a huge range of topics to cover, it can be easy to make spur-of-the-moment decisions. While every schedule should have room for spontaneity — you never know who you’ll see at Oktane — you should still take the time to establish your own personal and professional goals beforehand, so you can attend the sessions most relevant to your career.
 

Oktane has something for everyone. To help you narrow down your agenda, we’ve rounded up sessions based on different careers and interests, which can be found here:

You can even plan ahead using the official conference app. This will be your go-to resource onsite for all the latest news, reminders, and session information.

Pro Tip: Once you arrive at the Aria, get oriented with the space.  If you're attending with a group, maximize your time and divide and conquer, then come together to share what you've learned.

Don’t feel like you have to schedule every minute of your time in Vegas. Taking a breather between sessions is also a good strategy. Check out our partners at the Expo Hall. There is so much going on here, from the Developers Lounge to meals, you definitely don’t want to miss it! Early riser? We’ve also added yoga classes and organized group runs down the Las Vegas Strip.

Take advantage of any and all networking opportunities

Oktane is not only a great place to connect with your peers, it's also a chance to meet industry leaders, sponsors, presenters, and keynote speakers.

The full agenda for Oktane18 is online, and so are the featured speakers and partners. Take a look in advance, and figure out who you might want to meet with. Have some flexibility in your travel schedule? Sign up for pre-conference training courses and certification exams and join us early. Not only do these provide an opportunity to improve your skills for your own career, they're also a great place to build your professional network before the conference even starts.

Whether you’re bonding through training courses or simply over lunch (we’ve themed all of our tables so you can find others with similar interests and goals), the best way to break the ice is to ask questions and show interest. Have some questions up your sleeve and be ready to talk about why you’re at Oktane. Start small—like asking attendees which sessions they’re attending, or which speakers they’re most excited about—and then get to the good stuff. Here’s a few conversation starters:

  • What new projects are you working on?

  • How long have you been using Okta?

  • What’s the best soundbite you’ve heard at Oktane so far?

You can also participate using the #Oktane18 hashtag — introduce yourself, share your thoughts on sessions, snap photos, and see what others are saying about their experience. It’s a great opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader and make the most of the conference.

The best part about Oktane is that while the conference may end, the discussions keep going. There are lots of ways to stay connected post-conference:

We’ll have a professional photographer on site, so you can update your professional headshot while you’re at it.

Pro tip: When you collect business cards, take a photo of each one with your phone so that they won't get lost in the shuffle.

Bring industry knowledge home with you

It sounds simple enough, but good note-taking is key to a successful conference experience. You want to remember the expert tips and insights you’ve learned, so that they can benefit your organization for years to come.

Focus on your own reflections when taking notes: write down questions, ideas, and revelations you have, names of the people you’d like to follow up with (and connect on LinkedIn!) new features you want to read up on, and action points and best practices to share with your colleagues. This way, you can remember what resonated with you most (and have helpful talking points on-hand as you debrief after each session). It’s also helpful to create a Google doc to share with your team when you get back.

Don’t worry if you’d rather just sit back and watch a presentation: the Oktane18 website will be updated with post-event highlights and session recordings. Be present while you’re at the conference — we’ve got you covered with the most significant takeaways from each day.

Let the end of the conference be the start of something new

Once Oktane has wrapped, reconvene with the rest of your team, and take some time to review sessions online — the ones that you liked most, as well as insights from the ones you may have missed. We’ll be posting regular updates on our blog and sharing tips and takeaways on our social channels (follow us @Okta). If something sparks your interest, you can always reach out to the Okta team to learn more about new products and features or join our community to keep the post-Oktane conversation going. We’d love to hear from you about all that you’re working on and the new insights you’re bringing back to your teams.

If you haven’t registered for Oktane18 yet, it’s not too late. Register today.

 
Katie Batten
Senior Customer Conference Marketing Manager

Katie Batten is a Senior Customer Conference Marketing Manager at Okta and has over a decade of experience in planning and executing events. Prior to Okta, Katie led the corporate and trade show event strategy at Jive and Achievers in the Bay Area and HRCI in Northern Virginia. She is originally from Portland, OR, and her passions include travel, sports (Go Blazers!), and all things Disney. She currently resides in the Bay Area and holds an MTA from The George Washington University.

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