Every year at Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), we hear feedback from partners all around the world that one of the greatest parts of WPC is the opportunity to make connections with other WPC attendees. Whether they are connections with existing contacts you know already but haven’t seen in awhile or new connections with people that you are just meeting for the very first time. They can be connections with peers from other partner organizations attending WPC or connections with people from Microsoft. Regardless of what type of connections they are, the ability to meet and connect with others at the conference never fails to be an annual highlight brought up unanimously by WPC attendees, and I expect this year will keep that trend going!

To help enable more connections to be made, in person as well as online, we have once again this year launched the WPC Connect Tool which enables WPC attendees to see, find, and connect with other WPC attendees. This year we have a new WPC Connect Tool, which provides expanded features and capabilities within it, including:

Expanded profiles: Including things like the attendee’s blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. if they choose to enter them. For example, here’s a screenshot of my profile in WPC Connect:

(Click image for full size)
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image Social Media Connections: Not only do you have information about the attendee (name, company, title, etc.), but you also can see other ways to connect with them through various social media engines. All of the items shown on the right (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, etc. shown expanded to the left here) are all live hyperlinks that take you directly to those locations provided by the other attendees so you can quickly and easily add them to your social media network.
Navigation: You will also notice on the WPC Connect site that you have quick links to various items, including the Attendees link where you can search for other attendees based on a variety of fields to make your connections. image
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Once you are in the “Attendees” section, you can search for other attendees by:

  • Company
  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Job Title
  • Tags
  • Categories
  • Interests
  • Groups
  • Etc.

And you can filter total attendees by the following items (and conduct your search within these):

  • Most Recent
  • Category
  • Microsoft Region
  • Job Title
  • Microsoft Competency
  • Industry
  • Primary Customer Segment
  • Partner Types
  • Countries
  • Business Professional Groups
  • Partner Network Membership
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image Attendee Actions: Once you find a contact, you can hover over the contact and get a quick menu of action items you can use right there to build your connections, reach out to others, and schedule meetings at WPC. For instance, say you heard Kevin McMillen on MPN Live today and thought, “I’d love to connect with Kevin at WPC!” By searching “McMillen” by “Last Name,” Kevin’s profile shows up and by hovering over it, I can now connect in several ways right from there.

Groups: Another nice feature on WPC Connect this year is the concept of Groups. When you click on the “Groups” link:

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you can see existing groups, view members of the groups, and join those groups if they are of interest to you. Here is a quick view of some of the groups listed right now:

image Here you can see several options and view available to you from the Groups page:

1) Search for groups
2) See which groups you are a member of already
3) Use the (+) by any group to become a member of that group
4) Choose to see only the groups you are a member of or all groups
By clicking on a group name, you will see the group page, including current members and actions such as the ability to leave the group and message the group. image

Inbox: With the ability to connect via messaging on WPC Connect, your “Inbox” is where you can find and manage your communications:

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As you can see, you can view “All conversations” you are part of, your “Private Only” conversations, as well as “Public Only” conversations you are part of.

Discussions: Join in on some existing discussions among WPC Connect members or start your own for others to join.

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By simply clicking on the “Discussions” tab, you will have the ability, as you can see above, to start a new discussion, search discussions (including the ability to filter), and join discussions taking place already.

Schedule: When you click the “Schedule” tab, you are presented with the session schedule for WPC and several options:

1) Choose the tab for the day you want to view and the relevant sessions will show up
2) You can choose to show the all up event schedule or just your schedule (items you have added to your schedule)
3) Narrow down the sessions shown by track or keywords by utilizing the links on the right-hand side of the screen
4) Simply hover over a session and click on the (+) to add it directly to your schedule

You can also click on any session to open up the details page for the session to learn more about it, who the speaker is, and see others who have added this session to their schedules.

At the bottom right-hand corner of the page, you also have the ability to print your meetings, print the full schedule, export your meetings, and export al meetings.
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Connected Main Page: From the WPC Connect main page, once you are signed in, you can see a quick overview of:

1) Discussions
2) Who joined recently
3) WPC Speakers
4) Recent WPC12 tweets

All of which quickly enable you to connect with people and conversations about WPC to help build your connections with information, individuals, and companies before, during, and after WPC.
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This is just a quick overview of some of the things you can do with WPC Connect. Be sure to head out there yourself and give it a spin to see how you can start customizing your WPC 12 experience and connections today. There is one very important item to remember about WPC Connect though… The only way to participate in WPC Connect is to join WPC Connect! So be sure to head on out to the WPC Connect site today, complete your profile (so others can learn more about you, your company, etc., then start building your connections today!

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Thanks again for being a reader of my blog!

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Director, Worldwide Partner Experience
Microsoft Corporation
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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