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Microsoft Inspire 2018

How to network the right way at Microsoft Inspire 2018

  • 8 very important things to do at Inspire 2018
  • Why strategic networking is better than just ‘chatting’
  • Making the most of Corenote and Breakout sessions
An event as big as Microsoft Inspire can set your business up for the rest of the year. As well as providing a wealth of priceless expertise from the world’s top business leaders, Inspire is built around collaboration and networking with specially designed areas built to help foster new connections. The Commons offers a fertile networking ground to build new business, while the Expo Hall, Partner Network, and Microsoft Showcase all offer talks and advice from experts across industries and verticals that you can take back and inject into your business. The opportunities to connect at Microsoft Inspire 2018 are countless and, just like the Vegas glamour, should be indulged in at every given chance.

So, with less than two weeks to go, we thought you’d be in the hunt for some tips for the biggest Microsoft event of the year.

Tips for Microsoft Inspire 2018

1. Sync socially

Use social media to your advantage when networking. This includes using popular Microsoft Inspire 2018 hashtags and joining in on online discussions in your field. You’ll want to keep your name prevalent in relevant social spheres, enhancing your online profile and thereby making you easier to search for. For example, create a schedule beforehand of the sessions you’ll be attending and make this public to all Microsoft attendees (a feature available upon registering). You never know, someone could be seeking you out especially.

Spend time social networking before, during and after the event, and use it to your advantage. For example, you could use everything from a company website to a LinkedIn profile to learn information prior to meeting people who interest you. You could then follow up with that person via Twitter or LinkedIn. In fact, Microsoft’s Rachel Braunstein shares even more in an exclusive interview on how to network at Inspire.

2. Play the field

It’s humanly impossible to connect with everyone at the event so be selective; focus on people who are worth establishing a relationship with. You can do this by asking yourself whether or not you can help each other.

3. Present yourself as a problem solver

When you present yourself as a problem solver you immediately cut through the generic waffle of small talk we all know so well. Time is of the essence at major events like Inspire. And while we wouldn’t suggest steamrolling ahead with a military sales spiel, staying focused on your strengths and offerings will keep the conversation engaging.

4. Contacts are like the branches of a tree

Don’t only focus on your pre-planned prime targets. Strike up conversations with other attendees. After all there could be a valuable lead only one introduction away, which is why it’s always important to keep yourself open to conversations.

5. Getting a second date

Interactions will be short, so savour them while you can. If you happen to strike up conversation with a potential business partner bear in mind that the conversation could be over in less than 30 seconds. At this point, if you feel the conversation is flowing well – ask for their details so that you can set-up a second meeting in the future to see if there is any potential for business. The scannable QR code on your badge links to your LinkedIn profile and is a good way of swapping details.

6. The Commons

Take advantage of specifically designed areas for networking like The Commons and Area Lounges. In these rooms you’ll already find a concentration of the types of people you wish to partner with, making the conversation much easier.

7. Corenote and breakout sessions

This year the familiar Keynote Sessions have been renamed as Corenote Sessions. Reserved for Microsoft’s highly accomplished experts, innovators and visionaries like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and entrepreneur Amy Lynch; Corenote’s offer an excellent segue into Breakout Sessions, that can unlock another room full of potential business opportunities.

Each Corenote Session will have a corresponding Breakout Session. These breakout sessions or workshops home in on specific areas discussed in the Corenote Sessions, giving you a smaller network of people who are all passionate about the same areas. Smaller groups can provide more meaningful discussions around topics which could vastly increase your likelihood of generating a lead.

8. Think globally, too

Think big, break into new markets and make global connections in Microsoft’s Area Lounges. A suite of rooms devoted to a host of countries in a casual setting, providing a fantastic ready-made climate to plant some business seeds of your own. There’s nothing as empowering as taking your business international.

Come say hi at Inspire 2018

Make sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up with all the action at Inspire and get your free copy of our Top 50 Inbound Marketing Report for 2018 as soon as it’s released. You can also pick up a copy of the report at Inspire – we’ll be at Stand #1622, look out for the guys in the bright red t-shirts!

See you in Vegas! 

Fifty Five and Five work with Microsoft Partners to enhance their marketing activities. Want to talk to us directly about your next campaign or your broader Microsoft marketing strategy? Get in touch and say hello!

 


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Sam Gowing

Sam Gowing

Sam is a writer at Fifty Five and Five. What he doesn't know about SharePoint and Office 365 isn't worth writing about.

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