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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!