Post written by Plato HQ. 

The excitement is palpable—in just a few short days, thousands of founders, executives, and VCs will be gathering in San Francisco to share their stories, exchange ideas, and meet like-minded folks at the SaaStr Annual event from February 6–8. But if you’ve attended this event (or one like it) in the past, you know that making meaningful connections can be tricky. Sure, you might strike up a conversation with the person next to you in a session or at your lunch table, but it can be difficult to get into a deep conversation when you’re squeezing everything into a minute or two. So we thought, why leave it up to chance? We’ve put together a few tips to help you strategize your SaaStr Annual experience this year so you can build more meaningful connections.

1. Make time to go on a “Braindate”

Join one of these brand-new networking events, where you’ll have the chance to meet industry leaders in smaller settings. Braindate participants will get the opportunity to meet 1:1 or in small groups on topics you’re interested / passionate in. Find a topic, request a time, and you’re done! If you’re attending, it only takes 5 mins to set up – check out our mobile app to get started.  

2. Use social media to (gasp!) actually get social

This is a tactic you can start right this very moment from the comfort of your couch (or wherever you happen to be sitting). Go check out the @SaaStr and @SaaStrAnnual handles and the #SaaStrAnnual hashtag on Twitter. You can also check out the list of speakers and start following them. See who’s participating in the conversation leading up to the event. It shouldn’t take too long to find someone who’s got interesting things to say! Set a goal for yourself, like reaching out to 5 or 10 people to see if they’re open to meeting at the event. Connecting in person is a lot easier when you’ve already communicated with someone ahead of time!

3. Meet with great CTO, VP + Director of Engineering mentors during “SaaStr [Engineering] Management Sessions”

Luke Skywalker had Yoda, Daniel-san had Mr. Miyagi, Harry Potter had Dumbledore… who will YOUR mentor be? Take advantage of the SaaStr Management Sessions on Wednesday February 7 from 11:30am–5:30pm. You can book a 30-minute one-on-one or attend a 45-minute roundtable discussion with some of the industry’s best and brightest engineering leaders (who also make time to share their knowledge as Plato mentors). Don’t worry—no light sabers or magic spells will be required to participate! RSVP when building your agenda and we’ll reach to confirm your time and mentor!

Get mentored by amazing engineering and other engineering leaders like this:

4. Try to catch speakers when it’s convenient

When is the worst time to have a meaningful conversation with a speaker? Right after they give their presentation, when about a bajillion other people are trying to talk to them at the same time. So here’s a little tip: Check out the agenda and identify the speakers you’d like to meet. Then try to find them any time before they give their talk. You’ll be more likely to have their undivided attention and to engage with them in a more in-depth conversation.

5. If all else fails… go where the coffee and puppies are!

Feeling a little overwhelmed and exhausted by all the action at the conference? Head to SaaStr Square Park where you can recharge in multiple ways. There’ll be power outlets for your phone and laptop, coffee for your weary mind, and puppies because… who needs a reason for puppies? We can’t think of a better way to connect with your peers than over your shared love of shiba inu, or pugs, or labradoodles, or, well, you get the picture!

There you have it! Enjoy the conference, the connections, and the canine companions! Have any other tips for creating meaningful connections? Drop a note in the comments to share it!


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