9 tips for better networking at SAS Global Forum


sas_user_conferences_verysmallNetworking with other SAS users is what I love most about SAS Global Forum! At every conference, I look for ways to find those who share my interests or whose experience sheds new light on my use of SAS software.

When I come across tips on networking, I always try to put at least one into action. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the SAS Global Forum 2014 Conference Scheduler. It’s designed to make networking so much easier! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

1. Have a purpose. Think of networking as a tool, not a goal. Many of us attend SAS Global Forum with a specific outcome in mind—whether you are researching a new SAS software product, trying to improve your programming skills or possibly wanting to talk to others who are migrating to SAS 9.4. Having a clear goal makes it so much easier to find the content and attendees that are likely to help.

2. Know what to expect. Use the conference scheduler filters to find the combination of presentations and activities that match your interests, skill level and industry. Mark them as My Interests, and be sure to make a note of the authors and organizations represented.

3. Introduce yourself online. How many times have you agreed to meet someone in a crowded lobby and wondered who to approach? Fill out your profile in the General Info tab of the Conference Scheduler and be sure to include a photo. Also important--your messaging preference lets others know how to contact you. Want to connect with another attendee? Be sure to accept the conference Terms and Conditions to access the attendee list. Now you can get to the contact information you need.

4. Make time for fun. It’s hard to hold a good conversation as you’re running from presentation to demo to panel discussion. So be sure to set aside time for the great social events we have planned! Use the Special Events and Meals filter for an up-to-date list of activities tailor-made for networking.

5. Volunteer. There’s no better way to feel part of a community than giving back. At this year’s Red Wagon charity event, you and others can roll up your sleeves, build wagons and fill them with STEM related books and toys.

6. Ask questions. Every list of networking tips suggests that asking good questions and listening thoughtfully is the best way to make a good connection. Too shy to speak up in a presentation or introduce yourself? Or maybe you want to ask a question that takes more thought? Tap into the list of speakers and attendees and ask your questions through conference scheduler messaging.

7. Go social. Photos, tweets, videos—we’ll be sharing lots of them throughout the conference. What a great chance to include other attendees, SAS users back at the office and even family and friends in your SAS Global Forum experience! Watch for a blog later this month telling you all the great ways you can connect.

8. Bring a buddy. Encourage your colleagues to attend. Sometimes having a few acquaintances along can make a roomful of strangers seem less intimidating. There are team discounts available throughout regular registration.

9. Follow up. Lists of networking tips always end with this important reminder. If you’ve been promised an answer or if you have information to share with a new acquaintance, be sure to follow up.

I look forward to networking with both new and old acquaintances! See you at the conference.



About Author

Marje Fecht

Conference Chair, SAS Global Forum 2014

A SAS user since 1979, Marje specializes in building and teaching efficient, adaptable and reusable solutions. Marje began teaching SAS and statistics at the University of North Carolina in 1979. She then taught and wrote SAS courses from 1984 to 2000. Marje served as Education Manager for SAS in the Chicago office and then as National Education Manager for SAS Canada. As a Senior Partner for Prowerk Consulting since 2000, she now focuses on consulting and training in many industries, including financial services and education. Marje will serve as the Conference Chair for SAS Global Forum 2014.


  1. Michael A Raithel on


    Great post! I would also urge people to stay away from room service while at the conference. Make friends at the many social events, in the hallways, or in the lecture rooms. And, ask your new friends to have lunch or dinner with you. Chances are good that they are also from out of town and would like somebody to dine with, too. You will not only have dinner companions, but will be able to learn more about how other SAS professionals are using SAS to solve the business problems of their own organizations. Break the ice; it's a win-win situation.

    ----Michael A. Raithel

  2. Peter Eberhardt on

    I would add
    3b. Introduce yourself at the conference -- many people are at Global Forum on their own. With close to 4,000 people the conference can be overwhelming when you are on your own. If you see someone who looks lost and a little bewildered, stop and talk to him or her, ask if they would like some help. If you see him or her later, ask how they are doing.
    If you are on your own and see someone with a lot of ribbons do not hesitate to talk to him or her. Most of us do not bite 🙂
    I know I sometimes draw the ire of some of my colleagues because I am almost always late for a some event at the conference ("the even later than normal Peter"). By stopping and talking to people on the conference floor I have not only made several new friends but also gone on to collaborate on papers and work with them.

  3. Kerri . . .

    While there's nothing like being at the conference, we're so glad to hear you're able to connect with the SAS Global Forum experience! Watch this blog for an update on all the social media opportunities planned for the DC conference.


    • Two years ago, I experienced, first hand, the excitement of SAS Global Forum through social media, and I cannot express in words, how thankful I was, to be able to particiapte from many miles away, even though I couldn't be there physically. I encourage the entire SAS Community to connect through social media during SAS Global Forum, whether or not, you'll be in Washington DC, physically!

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