Fusion is fast approaching and before you Viva Las Vegas, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a game plan – for connecting with your peers. Our annual client conference involves a lot of things: sessions, trainings, social activities and, our favorite, networking. So what are the best practices for meeting up with old and new friends across the industry?
From networking novices to wise road warriors, our clients have some advice on how to make the most out of this year’s conference.
#1: Start with social media
“Hundreds of clients attend Fusion each year, and you’re not going to meet everyone face-to-face,” says Christopher DeCosmo from Constellation Brands. “The best bet is to see what your peers are saying online. Concur’s Fusion Wave social campaign uses the hashtag #CF2013 – someone is bound to share wisdom you can use to engage in further discussion. You’re messing around on your phone anyway – so might as well Tweet what you’re learning!”
#2: Gear up to be garrulous
Making friends and chatting up complete strangers may seem like a task, particularly for shy people, but Rendell Lofgreen from Carollo Engineers says an outgoing attitude is a smart strategy: “Be prepared to exchange contact information – bring plenty of business cards,” Rendell says.” You will find conference goers are passionate about sharing suggestions and ideas with you – you just have to open your mouth to people you sit next to every chance you get.”
#3: Talk fast and work the room
Are you hoping to meet as many people as possible? “To do this, you must keep introductions and conversations brief,” says Jay McCarter from World Travel Service, Inc. “Don’t always sit with the same people at meals – switch it up and you’ll be surprised what you can learn from other people.”
#4: Take a sip at social hours
The social receptions and happy hours at Fusion are great opportunities to make informal conversation with complete strangers, with the added benefit of nametags and a hosted bar. “If you don’t want to go alone, ask someone you meet during the day if they want to meet up before it starts so you have a buddy,” advises Pam Demidovich from Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. “Or if you’re on LinkedIn or another professional online forum, post that you’re going to the social event!”
#5: Fun for Fusion First-Timers
For Fusion newbies, the First-Timers’ Reception is a definite do-not-miss. And don’t forget the Fusion Wave (your chance to win free registration to Fusion 2014). With everyone connected in the same boat, you’ll feel seaworthy in no time.
“Also, first timers shouldn’t miss scheduling a one-on-one with an analyst,” advises Marsha Forrest from Healthcare Solutions. “List out your questions, issues or concerns beforehand, so you can spend some time on specifics with the analyst.”
Fusion is about learning, leadership and training. But it’s also about networking with the brightest professionals in the biz. So start on your social game plan by Tweeting, posting and connecting in the next few weeks – we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!
Got more Fusion networking tips? Tweet us @Concur and #CF2013, or share them in the comments below.