Hello Partners,

Thank you once again for attending WPC 2015. The event was a great success, thanks to you! One of the key indicators of success is how well you liked the sessions, and I am pleased to announce that the scores are in.

Based on audience evaluations, you enjoyed and were inspired by a wide range of topics and speakers, and we’re pleased we were able to have so many exceptional sessions for you to choose from. Of course, having a long list of can’t-miss sessions means there are some you had to miss, so we’ve pulled three of the most popular to highlight here. To view content for many of the fantastic WPC 2015 sessions, visit WPC Connect (WPC attendees only) or the WPC videos page on MPN.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at three of this year’s most popular sessions:
The Art of Storytelling
“The story you wrap your ideas in is more important than anything else.” –James Whittaker
Stories, told well, carry enormous power to inspire, teach, effect change, and build. But stories aren’t just for children; businesses can tap into the power of story to grow and succeed. In this hilarious and captivating session, master storyteller and teacher James Whittaker details five stories, five “bottom lines” that will help you tell your organization’s story in a way that will resonate with your audience and inspire action.

Below we’ve compiled our five takeaways from James’s session. You can also hear the five secrets to successful storytelling, as told by James Whittaker, with this caveat: his language is as colorful as he is, so keep that in mind when sharing.

  1. The concept wins an audience, not the details

    Hook your audience with a great concept and let them ask for the details. You may only have a moment to win someone’s attention, so be ready with a powerful story to tell. Your name is a detail; who you are is your story.


  2. Show them how to act, don’t tell them how to act

    What does finding a software bug have to do with being envious of Norwegians? A lot, according to James Whittaker, if you want software testers to learn how to debug software. Capture your audience’s attention and drive the action you want by showing, not telling.


  3. Connect with your audience, make it personal

    Make your audience want to know more by giving them bits of information, but hide them in the story. Yes, Cortana is cool and does great things, but how much more compelling is it to see Cortana embedded in a real-life story that we can relate to: a concerned dad approving a concert venue for his teenaged daughter?


  4. Stories are told for an audience, not to an audience

    Let’s say you’re giving a demo. Before you open your mouth, think: What’s in it for the audience? How am I going to make this memorable for them? James connects the dots between app discoverability and the need to use “excuse yourself” during a movie. Turns out, there’s an app for that, and the story that goes with it is unforgettable!


  5. The audience must opt-in, not just sit and listen

    You need to “get” your audience within the first minute or so, says James. You’re competing with so many distractions, so you need to be able to identify the point where your audience will opt in and be engaged. James grabbed Bill Gates’s attention with the right message at the right moment; when that key moment comes with your customer, how can you be ready?

Storytelling truly is an art, and this is a rare opportunity to hear about it from a true artist, so don’t miss out!
The Microsoft blueprint for the Internet of Your Things: An architecture overview for your IoT offering
“The Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will accelerate time-to-value for customers.” –Sam George
IoT is a hot topic in tech, but is it at the top of its “hype cycle”? Sam George, Director of Azure IoT, doesn’t think it’s hype. There are real benefits that companies are realizing and will continue to realize, and in his session, Sam discussed the growing benefits and opportunities for partners investing in the Internet of Things.
In his talk, Sam goes into the trends and opportunities in IoT, shares some insights from projects, details partner success stories you’re going to want to hear, and offers an overview of architecture and upcoming offerings.
Here are some of our key takeaways from this information-rich conversation:
  1. IoT implementations are being approved at the highest levels, such as Board of Directors and C-level execs.


  2. Companies are investing in IoT to reduce cost – there is considerable operational efficiency to be gained from IoT programs.


  3. IoT opens new revenue streams for partners by allowing you to offer new services. Real benefits are fueling demand for IoT.


  4. Businesses are transforming with IoT and seeing multiple revenue streams from IoT projects. New services, more comprehensive analytics, richer data – all of this can and is coming from the new world of IoT.
In his session, Sam described how to effectively align your IoT solution development to the architecture of the Azure IoT Suite to maximize your overall benefit. To learn more about Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, watch the full talk on WPC 2015 Connect.
Learn from a hostage negotiator
Midnight, Munich. A phone call from a frightened woman and a man, waiting, with a gun in his hand and a hostage. What do you do?
Negotiations can be really tough, and no one knows that better than Matthias Schranner. Formerly a hostage negotiator, Matthias has operated under enormous stress to achieve the desired outcomes, and he shares his strategies for unlocking deadlock and convincing the other party that you’re right! You can hear the whole of Matthias’s talk on WPC Connect.
Fortunately, most of us don’t have to make agreements at gun point, but tough negotiations are stressful and high-pressure, even so. Here’s a quick overview of some of our takeaways from Matthias’s talk about dealing with deadlock:
  1. Negotiation has nothing to do with right or wrong. Positions are non-negotiable,  no matter what either party thinks, so focus on the target, not against your negotiation partner.


  2. Never react. It can show your opponent what’s important to you and weakens your position.


  3. It helps to know if you’re a flight or fight type when you cross the “red line” of stress in a negotiation. There are pros and cons to each type, and knowing which you are helps you play to your strengths.


  4. Compromise indicates to your negotiation partner that pressure works and there’s something more to be gained if they apply more pressure.


  5. Don’t postpone decisions – it makes the next negotiation harder because expectations have changed.
Who doesn’t want to be a better negotiator? It’s important to take the lead in difficult negotiations, and Matthias shows you how it can be done in this exceptionally valuable talk.
This is just a taste of the very valuable lessons to be learned from Matthias, Sam, and James. There’s much more to be gained, and I strongly suggest you listen to each session in full. If you were unable to join us at WPC this year, or if you would like to relive some of the best moments from the conference, be sure to check out all our great videos on the WPC 2015 Highlights Page.
Also, don’t forget to register today to join us for WPC 2016 in Toronto. I am excited to see you there!

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