Networking Tips at OSCON

With thousands of open source programmers and developers under one roof, OSCON is your chance to meet face-to-face with the people you've been talking to online all year. Below are some tips to help you mingle and meet while at OSCON. If any OSCON veterans have some additional suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Join and use the Attendee Directory. The online attendee directory was created to help connect attendees with one another. Make sure you create your profile (including your bio) and put a picture up so others can recognize you in-person. Then you can search through the list of attendees and create a list of people you would like to meet. Learn more

Participate in the hallway track. One of the best parts of OSCON are the groups of people in the hallways having conversations with one another – think of them as informal networking sessions. You will get a lot more out of the conference if you start conversations with people outside of the session rooms. Don't be shy! Take advantage of the opportunity to find out what others are doing, what challenges they face, and what successes they've had in their organizations. Introduce yourself whenever possible and make it a point to chat with others.

Bring plenty of business cards. You'll be meeting a lot of people and handing out your business cards is an easy way for others to get your contact information.

Attend all the evening events. They give you the opportunity to mingle in a more informal setting.

Chat with others at your lunch table. Ask them which sessions they plan to go to or which sessions they've liked the best so far. If you missed one of the sessions everyone seemed to like, leave a comment on that session's page on the OSCON website and ask the speaker to please post their slides/presentation files.

Go to a BoF Session or two. These are more intimate, smaller groups of people, and are a great way to chat with other people interested in the same topics as you. Submit a proposal to lead your own!

Talk to the speakers after their presentations. Our speakers put a lot of time and energy into their presentations so any kind of feedback you have for them is always appreciated. And as influencers in this industry, they are a valuable source of information too. You can either give feedback in person at the session or online by leaving a comment on the speaker's session detail page. Speakers are notified via email when someone makes an online comment about their session and will often respond.

Visit the booths in the Expo Hall. The exhibitors are an important part of the open source community. They're not only showing off the latest and greatest products and services, but they are good resources of information and many times great at connecting people to one another.