“What’s your major?” All of us recognize the cliché intro line from our years at university. It was the fail-safe, go-to remark to get a conversation started. The most difficult time when meeting someone socially is the first few moments. First impressions are important and the interactions we have during this time can have a lasting effect on our future relationship (or lack thereof!). Of course, the last few moments may be more difficult than the first, and some might argue that final impressions carry at least equal weight as first; but that is a topic beyond the intended scope of this blog.
Networking, or making professional connections, is not unlike meeting people socially. The first few moments can be uncomfortable; you want to make a good first impression, but worry that you will not. But networking can be one of the most rewarding activities in your professional life. It can help advance your career, introduce you to new ideas, and connect you to successful peers in your chosen field.
As a SAS user, there is no better place to network than SAS Global Forum. As you prepare to attend the event in April, here are few things to keep in mind while networking at SAS Global Forum.
- Face-to-face introductions are far more rewarding than connecting digitally. Non-verbal communication, atmosphere, and instantaneous response are all aspects of face-to-face meetings that digital networking will never (ever!) replicate.
- Two threads that connect all SAS Global Forum attendees are SAS and data; we are all “data people” using SAS to meet an analytical objective. This binds us together; use them as your “fail-safe, go-to” intro line. It will ease any stress of that initial meeting.
- One of the great features of SAS Global Forum is the mix of structured and unstructured opportunities to meet colleagues and peers. Some of us thrive on the dynamic nature of unstructured events like the Kick Back Party, Meet-ups, and Quad Socials. Others (including yours truly) are more comfortable with the predictable nature of a breakout session, panel discussion, or table talk. The charity event is a bit of both; a social gathering with a planned agenda. Know your style and take advantage of it by networking where you are most comfortable.
Face-to-face networking with like-minded professionals is one of the top reasons to attend SAS Global Forum. Re-read Marje Fecht’s timeless “9 tips for better networking at SAS Global Forum” (numbers 6 and 9 are vital) and apply her advice to your style for a winning strategy to an enjoyable and fulfilling networking experience.
So, if you see me at SAS Global Forum 2016 in April, please say hello. And, when we are at the Kick Back Party, don’t be surprised if I ask: “What’s your PROC”?