What’s Next? Networking After the Con

(Image: Greentech Media)

Welcome back to the real would, GDC attendees. In our last post, we shared some tips on how to network more effectively while out and about at the conference. What about after? How do you follow up with all the connections you made? What do you even say? When should I do it? We’re here to help.

  1. Follow up now
    The conference is still fresh in the minds of everyone who attended. This week is the best time to reach out to those people you want to really make an impression on. Prioritize your list of contacts and reach out to the ones that are on the top and work your way down. You have about a 2 weeks window where you won’t look too aggressive contacting them now and not too lazy contacting them toward the end.
  2. Have something to actually say
    Sending an email saying “Hi there! We met at GDC!” isn’t something you want to send a potential contact in the industry. Send them something with value, something that will be useful to them. Did you talk about your portfolio and your work? Send them a link and thank them for their time. Did they share an exciting opportunity or news about something they are doing with their company? Ask them for more details and how that is going. Make it a conversation. If you don’t have something to talk about, consider reaching out when you do.
  3. They have a job to get back to
    Everyone is just getting back to work, or even still traveling after the conference. A lot of people might even take some time off to recoup. Be patient and respectful of their time. People are more likely to respond to someone who is understanding of the fact they might not get back quickly over someone who is pestering them every other day. If it is someone who you really want to connect with, give them a week before you follow up again.
  4. Follow them on social media
    This is a great way to stay in contact with people after the conference and also a good alternative to a direct contact like email or phone. This is also a good way to connect with those people you don’t really have something to say to, like we mentioned in our first point. Following someone on Twitter and sending a causal tweet about how it was nice to meet them is a fantastic way to keep in touch without the formality of an email.

    • Tip: Don’t add people to your LinkedIn contacts unless the topic has come up or it makes sense after meeting them.
  5. They might not get back to you
    This is the sad truth unfortunately, but just because you talked at GDC doesn’t mean they want to take that connection further. That is ok. If it is someone you want to stay connected with and you have genuine interest in what they do and their company, then step 3 is your best option. Otherwise, let it be. Be respectful and don’t take it personal. Who knows, you might run into them again when growing that relationship makes more sense for them and you’ll be ready.

Good luck making new connections and share any other tips fellow attendees might find helpful below!

5 Ways to Level Up Your Networking Skills for GDC

Many of us in the industry are making the trip to the one and only, GDC, Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, March 11-18. With so many awesome companies, studios, and people to meet, networking and making real connections can seem overwhelming. We at Outhouse wanted to share 5 quick tips to make the networking process a bit easier.

  1. Why are you going to GDC?
    Knowing why you are going and what your end goal is will help you network easier.

    • Looking for a job? Do research on who is hiring at the conference and have your resume on hand.
    • Education? Make sure you know your panel schedule and arrive early to be sure to get a seat.
    • Only in it to see the games? Check the exhibitor maps and locations for everything you want to see, so you can navigate the crowds better.
  2. Talk to Everyone
    This might seem like a no brainer, but we really mean everyone.

    • Don’t just start at the conference, start when you are traveling. So many people heading to the same location, you are bound to run into someone else who is heading to GDC.
    • In line for coffee, lunch, or even a panel? You have a captive audience surrounding you.
    • Chat it up at the expo. A lot of people are exploring what is going on at the expo, find a booth you like and strike up a conversation with someone checking it out as well.
    • Talk to the person presenting a panel you attend. Let them know what you got out of the panel and start a conversation. Most presenters want to hear from their audience and can lead to a great connection.
  3. Use Social Media
    You might not be able to connect in person, but you can sure make an impression online.

    • Follow the official GDC social media channels. They share great information and updates so you can be the first in the know.
    • Use the hashtags for the conference. Using #GDC16 doesn’t just allow you to find people who are attending, it helps people find you.
    • Follow people you would like to meet at the conference. Think of this as your first informal introduction before meeting in person.
    • Share, like, retweet content you like or that you saw. This establishes yourself in that area of interest and people can see what you are doing at GDC.
    • Keep it professional. Take a good look at your social accounts before going to make sure you are representing yourself the way you want to be seen by the people you want to network with.
  4. Be Friendly
    No one likes a grumpy gamer.

    • Smile at people. You aren’t going to look like a creeper, you are going to look approachable and someone easy to talk to.
    • Be the first to introduce yourself. We all have our awkward moments, taking the initiative to introduce yourself and taking the pressure off of someone else is always a plus.
    • Make small talk. Are they wearing a shirt of a game you love? Are they playing on their 3DS? Break the ice with something on their person that you can talk about to start a conversation.
    • Look nice. Someone who is well groomed and is dressed appropriately for each event is more likely to be chatted with than someone who isn’t prepared.
  5. Take Photos of Everything
    We aren’t just talking about selfies.

    • A lot of presenters show great information and tips while talking. Save yourself some time, instead of writing it all down, take a quick picture with your phone of the presentation. This way you have more time to listen.
    • Business cards are small and can get lost easily. Take a photo of them when you get them, this way you always have them and they will be time and date stamped in your phone for easy reference later.
    • People are going to be handing out a lot of flyers and materials. Not sure if you want to lug it around with you? Take a quick picture and move along with out tons of papers weighing you down.

Stay tuned after the conference where will will share with you ways to keep those connections you worked so hard to get at GDC!