VMworld 2015 Preview: Come Out of Stealth
With VMworld 2015 US only a day away, it’s time to get your game face on. Not only will you interact with vendors, attend sessions, take labs, partake in breakouts, etcetera, but you’ll also have the chance to network with your peers. They may end up simply being acquaintances, become professional resources, perhaps even future coworkers or bosses. So how’s the typical introverted technical professional going to make through this ordeal? Might I suggest following these two simple rules.
1. Come Out of Stealth
Imagine how nervous those new startups are as they come out of stealth in time for VMworld. They’ve worked really hard on things they’re very passionate about. Now they’re about to put it out there in the public eye and hope that everyone sees just how awesome it is. Sound kinda familiar?
Make like a post-stealth startup and just put yourself out there. Introduce yourself to that vExpert, ask your question during the Q&A, get out to those evening events and mingle.
Okay, so you’re there, you’re shaking hands, speaking into a mic or trying to make small talk. This is still a little scary, so how do we deal with the nerves?
2. Embrace Your Ackwardness
In these social situations, networking and building relationships, we’re often anxious and worried that we’ll “screw up”. We’ll say the wrong thing, not know what to say, laugh at the wrong joke or, heaven forbid, tell the wrong joke.
Get over it.
We’re all human beings and we all run into or cause these awkward situations. We forgive each other these social “transgressions”. Whether we realize it or not these shared experiences are just the sorts of things that let your humility and authenticity shine. They build better relationships. So take a page, literally, from Alexandra Petri and embrace your inner awkwardness.
Why Do This Anyway
I know this is easier said than done. I still struggle with it too. Like most things, it becomes easier through repetition and experience. But why do this in the first place? Why put ourselves out there?
As Gretchen Ruben points out, going to conferences makes people happier. Sounds sappy, but it’s true. It’s due to this very opportunity to build and deepen relationships with other people, she points out, that makes us feel happier. The novelty, challenge and learning one encounters further deepens our satisfaction and happiness at conferences. That’s not a bad mix.
Besides, you might just walk away from VMworld this year having met a couple new pals and carrying a few good stories.
Featured image photo by 12me