Dreamforce Pro Tips: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Networking
By Marissa Kraines
Dreamforce offers a great opportunity for networking, making connections, and sharing best practices. Whatever your role, company size, or industry, the community is ready to share its knowledge and skills, make meaningful connections, or even just have a Dreamforce lunch with you. Relationships are built morning, noon, and night throughout the event.
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 is the worst thing you could possibly do.
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.
BONUS Pro-Tips: Line Management
With the sheer volume of people who attend Dreamforce, lines sometimes happen. Here are some tips to make the most of any time you spend in line:
- Make friends while waiting. Lines are a great opportunity to network! You’re in line for the same thing, at the same event…you must have something in common…potential best friends in the making!
- Research the next session. What are you waiting in line for? Use your smartphone to get a better understanding of the session’s topic.
- Snack. It is easy to forget to eat during a busy event like Dreamforce — lines are a perfect time for you to have a bite and up your energy!
Need a change of scenery? Check out the Campground, watch a product demo, chill at the Dreampark, or catch a community theater session.
Want more tips to make the most of your time at Dreamforce? Check out Trailhead and our “Get Ready for Dreamforce” Trail.
Originally published at www.salesforce.com.