Are you attending SourceCon in Orlando next month? I remember receiving the e-mail confirmation last year – “You are now registered for SourceCon 2015 Dallas, September 17-18, 2015!” I was so excited to have a chance to surround myself with some of the industry’s best sourcers at a conference I had been semi-stalking for a year. I started browsing the scheduling and marking all of the sessions I wanted to attend…then the random thoughts started popping into my head – Who would I talk to? What would I wear? Should I go to the after party? Some of the silliest and most logical (at the time) questions kept coming up and I starting wondering about a lot more than just the sessions I would sit in on. I came across Shannon Pritchett’s article on preparing for Dallas and was so relieved to find something to give me a sense of what I was walking into! I was determined to make the most out of this experience, while learning a ton and networking with as many people at the same time.
The first thing you need to know is that it does not matter at all what you wear. After I signed up, I tried searching for what clothes I should pack for the conference. If you look in my google history, you will probably see different searches that include, (“what to wear” OR “recommended attire”) AND “sourcecon conference.” I saw people in dresses, people in sports jersey, people in t-shirts and jeans. If you feel comfortable in it, wear it! SourceCon is a judgment free zone, wear whatever the heck you want and it will be perfect.
When it comes to who you talk to, remember this – everyone is friendly and open to meeting new people. I arrived the night before the conference started and was so nervous I would have no one to talk to. I remember sitting at a table in the lobby bar when I heard from behind, “Hi, are you here for SourceCon?” Yes! Yes I am! Eric Knauf, Head of Global Talent Acquisition with Commvault was the first person I met in Dallas and truly made me feel welcome. He made sure I knew where everyone was meeting that evening to mingle before the conference started, and made me realize that everyone at the conference is truly approachable and open to meeting new people. I mean, we are in the recruiting industry right?
(Sidenote: head on over to Johnnie’s Hideaway in Orlando at 5pm on the 29th of February for a pre-conference mix and mingle with fellow attendees!)
In regard to the networking events, yes you should go and yes you should introduce yourself to people you have never met. The networking breakfast is from 8-9am and you should plan on going (bonus if you don’t meet up with anyone you know)! There are plenty of places to sit and many people sitting by themselves; try to find at least one new person each morning to chat with before the conference starts. You should definitely put SourceCon after Dark on your radar to attend – conferences are exciting but can be exhausting and you deserve a little time to unwind and have some fun. I met some of the coolest people who are now great friends at SourceCon after Dark; make it a priority to show up and introduce yourself to five people you have never met! The lunch breaks and roundtable chats are also great places to network with new people; take advantage of the time and don’t forget to connect with them on LinkedIn!