Networking the Dreamforce Portal
If you didn’t know this by now, the largest technology conference in the world is only a week away. That’s right, Dreamforce 2012 is here and I can’t wait. For those of you who love it for the networking, keep reading, everyone else, keep reading too because this is important stuff. When you sign-up for Dreamforce, you are given access to the Dreamforce portal. Salesforce for the last few years has allowed attendees via the portal to set their agendas for the week and also to collaborate with other attendees leveraging the use of Chatter. (Just click the “Home” button in the upper left and you will see the “Chatter” icon). It is the perfect tool to start networking before you even arrive at the conference get out there. Here are some tips for those who are new to the portal and or Dreamforce and are unsure how to use it to get the networking going.
Groups For All
I will start with the most obvious and probably the most powerful of networking tools, the Chatter groups. Salesforce allows any attendee to start a Chatter group about a specific topic and these topics can be about anything. You will see groups focusing on industries like financial services or healthcare, products, company specific ones for those with a lot of attendees, events, presenters like Tony Robbins, or even things like a state specific group. One of my favorites is the “New Jersey Users” group which is where I’m from. Bottom line, I guarantee that there will be groups around topics that you are interested in. This sets you up to meet people you probably want to network with. Go join the group and the conversation.
While you are in the group, take a look at the people who are in there with you. The native functionality of Chatter groups allows you to easily see who is a member and with a click you can go to their profile. Here is a great opportunity to see who someone is, their company, title and where they are from. If someone looks interesting, click the follow button. For you shy people out there, following someone in the portal is best way to start the networking process. I have found that most people will follow you back and in a lot of cases start a conversation with you. It’s an easy and safe way to network.
I Know You
Chatter groups allow you to filter the list of people you might be interested to network with and Chatter profiles give you the info you need to decide who you want to network with. The photo on the profile might be the piece that brings it all together. Seeing someone’s picture (assuming they didn’t put their high school graduation photo up)[b] can make the actual face to face meeting even warmer. There is something to already knowing what to expect when you meet someone for the first time which can help with rapport. In addition, knowing someone’s face helps you recognize someone that might be sitting by you in the keynote or in the expo hall.
If you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor and update your profile and start playing around in the portal. I’m sure you will find some groups to join and hopefully you will find some people to network with when you are at Dreamforce. If you would like to discuss this further or need help with the portal, please feel free to hit me up in the Dreamforce portal or tweet at me at www.twitter.com/Salvatoriello.