Not only is Dreamforce a great way to meet new people, it’s also the place to reconnect with those you already know. But successful networking doesn’t come easy, and keeping a few key strategies in mind will help you become a Dreamforce networking pro.
1. Do: Put your best foot forward – There’s no benefit to sitting in the corner by yourself. Don’t be afraid to say hello to people around you. Chances are, they’re just as nervous as you. Make an entrance — everyone watches the door at an event to see who will be coming through the door next. Have good posture, smile, and be noticed.
2. Don’t: Be timid – and only talk to people you already know. Networking isn’t just for flamboyant big-shots or charismatic colleagues.
3. Do: Have your “elevator pitch” down – Be quick, concise, and accurate when describing your business. Engage your listener from the get-go and make it memorable.
4. Don’t: Engage in overzealous self-promotion – This tactic is more likely to annoy than build valuable relationships.
5. Do: Carry business cards – Make sure you have more than enough with you as they’re a great way to exchange details, as well as helping you reconnect the following day. One great little tip is to jot on the back of your card the time and place you met, so your new business contact remembers.
6. Don’t: Forget to follow up – What’s the use of meeting people if you don’t get in touch afterwards?
7. Do: Listen and learn – This is a valuable lesson in life, not just business. Take time to learn from others’ experiences.
8. Don’t: Overindulge – Especially at the more informal meet-ups, there is a chance they’ll be serving alcohol. Even though a little liquid courage can boost confidence, appearing intoxicated won’t help make the best impression.
9. Do: Practice patience – Networking is developing strong, long-standing business relationships. Don’t expect to reap the rewards immediately. Good things come to those who wait. Use your personality and your interactions to develop a rapport with others so that you can have a formal business meeting at another time. Combine professionalism with personality as you engage others in conversation. Most people will remember very little about the standard “what do you do?” business conversation.
10. Don’t: Expect something for nothing – You cannot expect to get something without offering anything in return. Offer free help, favors, advice, or reduced cost services.
11. Do: Prepare questions – Anticipate the kind of people you’re likely to meet and think about what you’d like to ask them and what you would like to learn from them.
12. Don’t: Be afraid to ask questions – Everyone is scared of appearing ignorant, but there’s no need. The vast majority of people will relish the opportunity to peacock their knowledge and expertise, so make sure you ask as many questions as you can.
If there’s a networking ‘do’ or ‘don’t’ missing, let us know in the comments below!