by Kevin Micalizzi, Data.com Social Media Marketing Manager
For all but the truly extroverted, the thought of networking and meeting people among a sea of faces that could reach 100,000 can be daunting. But take heart, there are things you can do before and during Dreamforce to maximize your networking effectiveness.
Whether you're hoping to learn best practices from others, find new customers, find a job, or just expand your professional network, keep these tips in mind.
1. Rock the Dreamforce Chatter
Spread your networking wings before you even get to Dreamforce. The same Dreamforce App you were given access to when you registered not only gives you the Agenda Builder for planning your time, it gives you Dreamforce Chatter -- connecting with your peers. Setup your profile now and get started!
Every connection you make before the event is one more person you know when you get there.
Check out some of these Dreamforce Chatter groups. And remember there are many more:
- ! Flyin' Solo ! – If you’re heading to Dreamforce alone, you're not alone
- Awesome People – When you can’t contain your own aweseome-ness
- #DF12 Twitter Community – For rubbing elbows with the Twitterati
- LGBTA Dreamforce Attendees – Meet other LGBTA attendees
- New to Dreamforce 2012 – Great tips and advice for first time attendees
- Tony Robbins – Power Talk! – Come together with other Tony Robbins fans
2. Take advantage of planned networking events and spaces
Any event of this size (with such an awesome events team planning it) has potential networking opportunities baked into the schedule. It's up to you whether you take advantage of them. I *strongly* recommend you do. Primarily because people attending these events are most likely doing it for reasons similar to yours--they're in the mindset to meet new people. If they're already looking for opportunities to meet or at least hoping someone will smile and say "hi", why not take advantage of it to jump-start your networking.
Plan your networking time, but always be open to making new connections.
- Attend the major networking events
- Volunteer at foundation events
- Spend time with the Community and Zones
3. Create your own opportunities
It’s not always easy to do, but smiling and introducing yourself before and after your sessions can go a long way to creating random networking opportunities. For instance, you’re waiting for the Data.com product keynote, Thursday, Sept. 20 12:00 PM Moscone Center South: Gateway Ballroom. You managed to make it with a few minutes to spare, take a minute to introduce yourself to the people around you. Who knows, they may do similar work as you. Even if they don’t, you have a chance to make some friends for the exclusive Village People concert. (Pretty subtle plug, huh?)
This year there aren’t “Birds of a Feather” luncheons but you can organize and hold your own discussion at the Community Lounge in the Marriot Marquis Atrium. The Dreamforce team has also designed an incredible Dreamforce plaza you can take advantage of to organize a meetup. There are many public groups on Dreamforce Chatter organized around different topics. Check with group members to gauge interest. You can organize the entire thing from the comfort of your office.
With all the Dreamforce parties happening in and around the event, there may be some potential for making connections. As with any party type situation, some people use it as an opportunity to get out of “work mode.” Just tread carefully.
What tips would you recommend for networking at Dreamforce?