Almost two weeks ago, the SQLSaturday #149 organizers sent an email out looking for volunteers to guide the Topics on a Stick sessions (Minnesota’s take on Birds Of a Feather). The state fair was clearly on their minds, as you can get almost anything (to eat) on a stick at the Minnesota state fair. The email contained a list that was loaded with technical topics, and I wanted to help out. But, I also really wanted to focus on another important aspect of SQLSaturday – Networking. They got back to me and said that Networking on a Stick had been added.
So, then I started planning what I would want if I went to a Networking Birds Of a Feather session. Unlike the technical sessions, I really think this one needs to be hands on, so I started looking for Networking ‘exercises’. And, I combined some ideas that I found and came up with something that I really like. Plus, it could be reused at other events, with some slight modifications. We are going to play Networking Bingo, and here’s how it works:
– Randomized Bingo cards are handed out to everybody (rough draft of squares below, all about networking).
– Instructions and squares are briefly described.
– Take your card to another player, introduce yourself, and offer to ‘autograph’ (but PRINT) ONE square on their card that describes you, and have them do the same. Talk to them a little bit about the square you ‘signed’ to make it easy for them to remember you. Make sure you remember who they are.
– Shout BINGO when you have 5 squares in a row. We will all stop.
– The person that shouted BINGO must then be able to tell us who ‘signed’ each of their squares AND point them out. You must get them all right to claim your prize.
– There will be solid SQL Server swag for the winners! And, some swag for the remaining participants as well.
– We will continue the Bingo until we run out of swag, or decide that it has run its course.
Timely follow up is critical. So, make sure you keep your SQLSaturday momentum by sending anyone you had a good connection with a quick note. Follow them on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, or just send them a quick email saying that it was nice to meet them. You never know when you might bump into them again.