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 these connections, new and old. The Hub offers a great 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 2019 are countless and, just like the Vegas glamour, should be indulged in at every given chance.
So, with less than four weeks to go, we thought you’d be on the hunt for some networking tips for the biggest Microsoft Partner event of the year.
Top tips for Microsoft Inspire 2019
Social media is an important networking tool so harness it. Search for popular Microsoft Inspire 2019 hashtags and join online discussions in your field. It’s important to enhance your online profile by keeping your name prevalent in relevant social spheres – making you easier to search for. A good example is to create a schedule of the sessions you plan to attend and publicise this to all Microsoft attendees (a feature available upon registering). You never know, somebody could be seeking you out especially.
Time spent social networking before, during and after the event is invaluable so maximise its potential. You can use everything from a company website to LinkedIn and other social media channels to learn information and create talking points prior to meeting people you’re interested in. You could then follow up with that person afterwards. In fact, Microsoft’s Rachel Braunstein shares even more in an exclusive interview on how to network at Inspire.
Take candy from strangers
Finding the right connection can be difficult. Keep your pre-planned prime targets in mind but get mingling and strike up conversations with other attendees. Remember that valuable leads can pop-up in places you might least expect. However, consider whether you feel a business relationship can bloom and focus on those people. Don’t waste too much time speaking with people who can’t help you.
Which floor are you on?
Treat each interaction like a condensed meeting and prepare an elevator pitch. Conversations can be limited to just 30 seconds so make an impression and fill the time with important details. What you do and where you work, who your clients are. What are your goals? 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.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Don’t be scared to jump into the middle of a conversation. Wait for a natural break then step in and introduce yourself. Daunting as it seems, in most cases people welcome the interruption and enjoy the chance to meet somebody new. After all, they are there to network, just like you. Feel free to politely excuse yourself if you sense the conversation is serious.
Arrange meetings or spark conversation with fellow networkers at The Hub. Microsoft have created an open space where you’ll already find a concentration of the types of people you wish to partner with, making conversation finding the opportunities much easier.
Corenote and breakout sessions
Reserved for Microsoft’s highly accomplished experts, innovators and visionaries like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and entrepreneur Simon Sinek; the Corenote offers 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 concentrate on specific areas discussed in the Corenote Sessions, giving you a smaller network of people who are all passionate about the same areas of business and technology. Smaller groups can provide more meaningful discussions around topics which could vastly increase your likelihood of generating a lead.
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 2019
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 2019as soon as it’s released. You can also pick up a copy of the report at Inspire – we’ll be at Stand #616, 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!