Probably this single most significant advantage to attending a conference, is the fact that it pulls so many people with a common interest into one place and time. If the interaction amongst participants wasn’t important, then it would be very difficult to make a compelling argument for in-person attendance.
Talk to People – Join in the Conversation
In the last year, I can think if 10 times where I was able to call (or I was called by) a colleague who I met at a past RSA. In the professional development series with Lee Kushner (link), ideas about developing, having, and being able to utilize your professional network are going to be a reoccurring theme. If you are attending RSA (or any large event) don’t pass on the opportunity to meet and connect with new people.
It can be Easy…
Don’t be mislead into thinking you need to “work the room” to meet people at RSA. 90% of the people who will be in Mascone Center are there because Information Security is important them, either as a practitioner or as a provider. (The other 10% are there to make sure everything runs smoothly.)
So, you will be surrounded by people, who at least share that one item in common with you. Reaching out can be very easy. The people who you are in-line with, or waiting for a session to start with, etc. almost all do something connected to what you do. Just saying hello is all it takes.
There are a number of events that can make networking even more effective. The conference itself has roundtables session that are 100% focused on establishing peer to peer communication on targeted topics. Any vendor sponsored dinner or event also creates easy opportunities.
New to Networking?
The RSA conference understands the value of the networking opportunity it is creating. As a result, there is a “Networking 101” session on Monday evening at 5:15, immediately following the First-Time Delegate Orientation. Each year the conference brings in someone who has professional training experiencing in helping people network – helping people connect. This is always a great session to attend if you have the time, and are around the conference center on Monday evening.