"What's your major?" Thoughts about networking at SAS Global Forum


SmallGraphic“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”?


About Author

John Amrhein

SAS Global Forum 2017 Conference Chair

John has advanced from a front-line statistician through increasing levels of responsibility to his current position as vice president of a three decades-old statistical consulting firm. In each position, he has made a positive impact on the organization and its customers' business processes by providing evidence-based decision. John combines innovative predictive analytics from the financial and retail sectors with the disciplined quality-driven procedures of the drug development lifecycle. Additionally, he challenges clients to adopt advanced analytical methods via presentations, publications, training and client relations with executive decision-makers.


  1. Good point - I often say "How do you use SAS to solve problems?" and I always get a surprising answer. Once a fellow explained some very complicated marketing analytics that helped his company get more customer while another lady explained how SAS was used in the grocery store to assist with making decision. And yet another person worked for the federal government and had an even more complicated use case!

    But they were all using SAS to solve the problem and it gave me some ideas on other ways I could use SAS to solve some issues.

  2. Thanks for sharing the opportunities and options for networking John.

    I agree that face-to-face introductions are far more rewarding than connecting digitally. However being able to connect and network digitally using social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) can also be an ice-breaker. Social can also be a great way for people to follow and engage while at the conference or from afar.

    Tricia Aanderud and I will also be hosting the #SASGF #TweetUp again on Monday, April 18th at the same time as the charity event. http://www.sas.com/en_us/events/sas-global-forum/sas-global-forum-2016/program/agenda.html We welcome everyone to join us, those that already use Twitter or would like to learn. Please come along and we'll have a chat in more than 140 characters too! 😉 Details to be posted soon.

  3. Rick Wicklin

    Not only can you network with other SAS professionals, but you can meet and talk with SAS employees. Come down to The Quad and meet some of the knowledgeable and friendly folks from SAS. And if you ask "What's your PROC," you might get get a very interesting response.

  4. As I mentioned earlier, if you're going to SAS Global Forum, please come along to the #SASGF #TweetUp for a 'darb' time.

    For details and to let us know you're coming, please post a comment at http://www.metacoda.com/en/2016/01/know-your-onions-meet-up-at-sasgf-tweetup

    And if you are unable to make it to the forum in person, please join us on Twitter using the hashtags #SASGF #TweetUp and follow/share/participate at the conference with the #SASGF hashtag.


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