Networking at events

I was planning on going to SQLSaturday in Boston a few weeks ago and I was very excited to meet people who are from similar backgrounds and had similar interests.  I can usually get a wall to talk back, but I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve been in a situation like that.  Unfortunately work got in the way, so I’m going to try something a little more local in a week or so.

So my question of the day is – how do you meet people at events, especially if you don’t have any connection besides the fact that you’re in the same room or the same event?

I’m seeing pics from SQLSummit on twitter, and putting faces to twitter handles, but how do you make introductions without coming off as really dorky?  Even the Rockstars that are speaking at these events were, at some point, new to these experiences themselves.

So if you could give advice to people breaking into this wonderful offering, what would it be?  The one thing I’ve picked up so far is that everyone is human, and at least in SQLFamily – everyone seems to be really warm, welcoming, and friendly.

So is it just as easy as start asking questions, or if it’s someone specific, do you do a little research on their expertise (without stalking of course) and try to get into a discussion of some sort?  Or something as simple as “Hey, I’m SoandSo, I work for Company X, what do you do?”  I think it’s easy to talk to people at the booths, because they’re concentrating on something specific, but I’m more interested in navigating the social events.

Thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Networking at events”

  1. I was inspired by something Edward Tufte did during his classes. He walked to each person and said, “Where are you from and what do you do?” He didn’t even bother with names or introductions, just jumped in right there. Worked surprisingly well.

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