Where else can you go to be with over 10,000 people whose sole goal is to spend three entire days dedicating their time and energy to thinking about Microsoft Dynamics business solutions? Convergence is the only place I know of. Those three days are packed full of educational sessions where attendees come to learn about current and future solutions for their companies. There are hands on labs to try, Microsoft experts to see at the help desk, and add-on products to check out in the expo hall. But weaved into all this structured activity is opportunity to meet people who use the same software in their jobs every day, just like you do, and to build your network.

Whether this is your first convergence or your fifth, here are where the big networking wins are at Convergence:

  • Roundtable discussions - Make sure to attend and participate in these discussion format sessions. Check out the signs on each table to see what topic will be discussed, or what job role people have. You’ll immediately see opportunities to meet people who are interested in the same things you are.
  • Interactive sessions - These sessions are sprinkled throughout the conference and are generally facilitated by the different user groups. They can be a great way to find a group of like-minded people and engage in conversation.
  • Convergence Connect - Convergence Connect allows you to search the other attendees based on information in their profiles. You can issue an invite to them to meet at a designated time and place. Take some time to fill out your profile completely to make yourself easier to find and take some time before the conference to explore the features of this tool.
  • User Groups - The user groups are organized groups for each of the represented softwares and are an already established networking community ready to connect with you and help with what you need.

So what’s the big deal about networking? We all hear that we should be actively networking, but do we really understand why? The large majority of us who are attending Convergence are here because our employer has sent us to learn about new technologies or to solve business problems.

The big deal about networking, particularly at a conference like Convergence, is that networking leads to collaboration. Building your network at Convergence creates a net of professionals who really get what you do and can help you solve business problems for your company. Someday, when you are back at the office, you’ll have a business problem come up that you don’t know how to solve.

That’s when you’ll reach out to your network of knowledgeable professionals. Even if the person you know doesn’t know the answer, they’ll know someone else, and pretty soon you’ll have the solution you needed. The time you invested at Convergence to reach out, smile, hand someone else a business card, and discuss a theory, instigate an idea, or collaborate on a solution, just paid off.

Congratulations.

Kerry Rosvold is the Corporate Controller at Augsburg Fortress Publishers and regularly blogs at www.dynamicsnavfinancials.com.  Convergence 2013, held in New Orleans, will be her fifth Convergence.