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AU is many things: software users conference, online learning hub, and perhaps best of all, thriving global community. Each year, 10,000 of us gather in Las Vegas to share ideas, hone our skills, and fill up on inspiration. Another 15,000 designers, engineers, and makers participate in AU events around the world.

This global knowledge-sharing is, of course, invaluable. But the connections you make while you’re at AU are equally important—after all, your ongoing conversations and relationships with others who are solving the same challenges as you will keep you thinking, learning, and growing all year long. Meeting new people and building your personal AU community, both before the event and while you’re there, is a great way to make the most of your AU. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Before the conference

You don’t have to wait until November to start making connections. Get social now by searching #AU2016 on Twitter and Facebook. Connect with other attendees, and join the conversation by using #AU2016 when you post. (Don’t forget to add an AU 2016 Twibbon to your profile pic.) Lay the groundwork for meeting new people at AU, and feel the excitement building.


Meet the experts

Follow an industry blog or 2? Check the AU 2016 class catalog to find out if your favorite bloggers are speaking at AU. If they are, send them a message (via social media, email, carrier pigeon, etc.) to let them know you’ll be attending and you’d love to meet them. And of course, don’t forget to sign up for their classes. You can also connect with AU speakers and other attendees via LinkedIn.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-45-17-amPhoto by Shaan Hurley

Get ‘appy

Be sure to download the brand new AU mobile app now to connect with other attendees, and join the conversation in the #AU2016 activity feed. This feed is exclusive for registered attendees, so it’s a great way to get involved and find your people. We’ve also added a new feature that will help you connect with others who share your same interests and job functions. It’s called “People like me,” and we think you’re going to love it.


At the event

When you land in Las Vegas, it’s game on. Hit the ground running by looking for fellow travelers sporting AU gear and introducing yourself. Then look for the big AU rideshare signs in the taxi area and jump in with a fellow attendee or 2. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your next best friend before you even check in.

When you get to AU, be sure to join us in the registration lounge for our inaugural Welcome Reception, Monday, November 14, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Enjoy a cocktail, meet some folks, and get your bearings before classes start.


Hello, my name is…

Once the conference begins, take advantage of every opportunity to meet new people and make connections. Sit at a random breakfast or lunch table and strike up a conversation with your fellow diners. Introduce yourself to the person you’re sitting next to in class. Introduce yourself to the speaker too, after class is over—don’t worry, they won’t bite. (In fact, they’ll probably be thrilled that you went out of your way to meet them.) Introduce yourself to someone on the way out of class.

Make sure you bring your business cards with you everywhere you go, and hand them out freely. Even if you’re traveling with co-workers, make a point of breaking away from the pack to meet as many new people as you can. Trust us, it will really enhance your overall experience.


Go backstage

We’re offering a special “backstage” session this year, which will feature top Autodesk thought leaders sharing their insights on our software development practices and initiatives designed to meet your needs in the next 5-10 years. This fast-paced, interactive panel will be followed immediately by a networking reception with the panelists. Sign up now to save your seat and join the conversation.


Photo by Shaan Hurley

Mix and mingle

In addition to classes and meals, every evening presents another opportunity to expand your network. We’re hosting a Community Reception in the Exhibit Hall, Tuesday, November 15, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Meet like-minded professionals while exploring the latest technology. We’re also holding our first-ever Women at AU Networking Reception, Wednesday, November 16, 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., followed by the big Party at the Promenade, 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m., where food, drinks, and fun will fuel the forging of new friendships. And don’t forget about the Farewell Happy Hour, Thursday, November 17, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Say your goodbyes and solidify relationships over a final drink on us.


So get to work—share this with your colleagues, hop on the AU2016 hashtag, and start creating your own AU community. Remember, we’re all here because we share the same interests, skills, and challenges. So be bold, break the ice, and hold out your hand. Because community building is what AU is all about.

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