Comments on: Effective Networking (How to Work a Room, Part 1) Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:53:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Max Nichols Thu, 10 Jun 2010 16:43:13 +0000 Whether you’re a new networker or not, you should give out business cards when a discussion has a reached a point where it feels appropriate. Maybe you had a lively discussion with someone, or you have an article they might be interested in, or you hit some sort of rapport and think it’s worthwhile to exchange cards. In that case… do it! Whether you’re not to the networking game or not.

But whatever you do, don’t throw business cards around to everyone in the room without some feeling that it might be justified. You only talked to a guy for 30 seconds and neither of you hit it off, or he kept looking past your shoulder, obviously wanting to move on? Don’t try to offer him a card, you’ll just come across as desperate.

And if you’re attending an IGDA meeting in a city that you’re only visiting, pull out all the stops. It’s a new community! Tons of awesome people you’ve never met surround you, and all of the regulars – the people who make it their business to know everyone at the chapter – will want to find out who this person that they don’t recognize is. If you don’t leave a meeting at a new chapter with a pile of notes, business cards, and names to memorize, then you’re likely doing yourself a disservice. Then again, it can be hard to break the ice and get into the groove in such a situation.

IGDA Meeting attendence: Last I checked – and I haven’t read the bylaws or kept up with the IGDA politicking for a bit – each chapter had the freedom to make up its own rules on attendance. The Montreal Chapter is open to anyone, from anywhere, but if you’re not an IGDA member there’s a $5 entrance fee. Boston Post-Mortem is obviously very open, with no fee and no membership requirements.

So it might be technically possible for a Chapter to bar people who are just visiting, but that would really be a terrible idea, and I would be shocked and dismayed if any chapter actually had such a rule.

By: Max Nichols Thu, 10 Jun 2010 16:32:11 +0000 One thing I want to reiterate, because new networkers can’t hear this enough: Networking is a long-term investment. I went to my first IGDA meeting 4 years ago, and when I was there I met a few people, had a couple so-so conversations… and that was about it. I didn’t leave the event with a new set of best friends. Hell, I wouldn’t even say that I left with any new friends. But I DID leave with a few acquaintances, a couple of which would likely even recognize my name. When I came back a few months later, I was able to approach these people again. Some of them I merely said “hi” to and then left them to their own devices, others I had longer conversations with.

Now? Now, I’m on very good terms with a couple people from that first IGDA meeting. I’ve helped some of them out, they’ve helped me out, we run into each other at events and conferences all the time. And the key was persistence. It took me years to get to this point with many of these people, but I DID get to this point.

So bottom line: Don’t go to your first event expecting miracles, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t leave with a new batch of lifelong friends. That’s normal. Take baby steps, get used to it.

ALSO: after you’ve been networking for a few years, and are comfortable in a new space, it gets a lot easier. I was able to traipse a few hours south to Boston for a Post-Mortem meeting where I didn’t know anybody (Darius was gallivanting off in Florida). I left having made a good impression on several people, if I do say so myself. It gets easier. Now I’ve been to three Post-Mortem meetings, and I know numerous people there, and can walk into the room and know half the people there.

By: Epic Wizard Fri, 02 Apr 2010 14:51:11 +0000 Should one also be handing out business cards at these events or is that a “save for later” thing?

Same question but you’re attending an IGDA meeting in a city you’re only visiting (is this even allowed?) and probably won’t be back to for a while.

By: Craig Perko Mon, 01 May 2006 04:29:00 +0000 I think I would clarify a bit: in this situation, you’re primary goal is to make a decent impression, not to do advanced networking. Sure, you might be able to solve someone’s problems, or have the perfectly pithy thing to say, and that’s great.

More likely, you’re just introducing yourself. That’s probably enough.

The important thing about this is that it lets you wrestle out of your weight class. When you go to GDC, there’s an obvious set of tiers: newbs, early-career folk, established folk, and power hitters. And nobody above your weight class will be interested in talking to you without someone else above your weight class introducing you.

But in a smaller, more informal event, these people are more accessable. Don’t fawn, don’t expect to get anywhere. Just introduce yourself… but introduce yourself to someone who wouldn’t give you the time of day at GDC.