No, I’m not talking about hubs and switches. I’m talking about people. Networking is a major component of an event like the PASS Summit. Whether you’re networking with individuals or with organizations, this is an opportunity to build direct, personal connections with people that can, and will, help you in your professional career. With the economy behaving as it is, having a better network gives you an edge over your peers. You’re going to be better and faster at solving the tough problems, not because you’re smarter, but because you have contacts that have already solved that problem (which, actually, means you are smarter) and you can go to them for the solution.
I’ve been “that guy.” (I can’t be be “that gal” even if I tried). You know the person. They show up having flown in the morning of the event, they hit sessions all day, sit in a corner at lunch not making eye contact, repeat for 3 full days with time off in the hotel room, then fly home. Afterwards, they talk about, “Well, it was OK, but I didn’t get that much out of it.” Really? No kidding? Maybe it’s because you didn’t put anything into it. Just a guess.
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve spent a lot more time trying to figure out how to work on computer than you have people. Not a problem. I’ve got the solution for you. Don Gabor (blog) is back at the PASS Summit for his third year in a row. He has a two hour mini-seminar called Networking to Build Business Contacts. If that doesn’t sound perfect for the Summit, then you’re not paying attention.
I’ve taken the class with Don two years ago and it was really worth it to me. Further, I’ve read one of Don’s books and I was privileged to publish an article he wrote for our short-lived attempt at reviving the SQL Standard. His subject matter is serious and important, but Don’s approach is light, fun, approachable and incredibly useful.
If you’re that guy/gal, stop. You don’t have to be. If you need that leg-up on how to get involved, then you’re absolutely in luck. Take Don’s session. You won’t be disappointed. Then network your behind off at the Summit and get that extra edge you need for your career.