We are so excited to be Diamond Sponsors of this year’s MMS Conference. We’re even more excited to collaborate with MVPs who are MMS veterans. Anyone in the industry knows that this event is one of the most anticipated of the year—and getting ready for it, especially if it’s your first time attending, can be a little daunting.
The demands of the community for expert speakers is high. But amidst the expectations of attendees is the underlying support system which makes up the group of people who go. As you’ll see in part 1 of this interview series with Brian Mason (who started the conference), Kim Oppalfens, Kenny Buntinx, and Peter Daalmans, these MVPs know how to prepare for and get the most out of the event.
Take it from these four, there’s a lot to discover while at MMS, but you have to be ready to put yourself out there! Read on to get an MVP’s perspective of the event before you go.
Question: How many times have you attended and/or spoken at MMS?
Brian (BM): Attended all, spoke at most.
Kim (KO): I’ve spoken at every single edition since MMS was re-launched as Minnesota Management Summit, and participated as a speaker at every MMS while it was still the Microsoft Management Summit since the one that was somewhat disrupted by a volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010.
Kenny (KB): I have attended all MMS Events, except the one in 2017 (my godchild received his first communion!)
Peter (PD): I had the honor to speak at all five MMS editions.
Question: What is your advice for people attending for the first time?
BM: Network! Talk to people you don’t know. Talk to speakers.
KO: Make the most of it! Which probably comes down to a mix of the following: Plan your schedule well in advance, take notes but most importantly mingle, network, talk to people, attendees and speakers.
KB: Don’t be afraid to mingle with attendees and speakers. Think of the conference as a user-group meeting.
PD: Come with lots of questions, MMS is the event where speakers are not hiding in speaker rooms.
Follow up question, what if they’ve attended multiple times?
BM: Talk to people you don’t know. Meet others. Odds increase that you’ll find someone who has the same work concerns as you.
KO: Come well-rested, this is an amazing community driven event and you will be exhausted by Thursday evening at the latest, that’s a promise.
KB: Talk to each other, share ideas and problems. Then debate/discuss scenarios with us. That way we can all learn from each other.
PD: The speakers are just like you! They’re fellow attendees— easy to approach during and after the sessions.
Question: What will you be speaking about this year?
KO: I’ll be presenting on WMI, and one of the core components I haven’t discussed yet is the inbox system. And as in previous years, I’ll be involved in the Configuration Manager State of the Union and in making up questions and presenting our not-to-be-missed Configuration Manager Quiz.
KB: I’ll be speaking about Windows 10 and modernize your infrastructure with all new and shiny management features that are stuffed into the new versions of SCCM and EMS. I will probably also speak about Windows 10 security.
PD: This year I will be presenting four sessions. Two about the complete Enterprise Mobility + Security, one session on what’s new in Microsoft Intune and one session about Windows 10 in Education.
Question: How do you prepare for your sessions?
BM: I find it best to do a live meeting with my co-speaker and then time it.
KO: Building the sessions is an elaborate piece of work. It starts with picking a session topic, which obviously must be something I am already knowledgeable about. Next, is building the layout of the presentation, which includes some things about the topic that I’ve always wanted to know but didn’t fully grasp until I started building the session content. This is why I like speaking so much: it focusses me on something that I have been willing to figure out for a long time most of the time. It helps me learn new things. Once the content is in its final stages, trial presentations start. Not the part I enjoy the most, but an integral portion of session prep.
KB: I don’t 😊. No – I do prepare them, but I try not to be the “slide guy”. At the end of my session, my goal is to let you walk away with enough knowledge to try it out yourself, mixed with the do and don’ts from what I learned from the field.
PD: All sessions are done with co-speakers so we meet very often to discuss the sessions. In the end, an awesome session needs to be the result.