Effective Networking (Behaving in Lines)

by Darius Kazemi on September 12, 2006

in networking

At networking events you’ll often find yourself sort of “waiting in line” to speak to an Important Person. This usually looks like a semicircle of people all facing the Important Person, who is moving along the semicircle, answering someone’s question, then moving along to the next person who showed up. (While I have advised my readers to avoid lining up to talk to celebrities, an Important Person here is not necessarily a celebrity–maybe it’s someone who just finished giving a talk at your local IGDA chapter meeting.)

There are certain ways you should and shouldn’t behave when you’re one of the people in line.

Wait your turn. Only speak to the Important Person when he/she acknowledges you. You can speak to other people who are also waiting their turn, that’s fine. Listen to other people’s questions. If they ask the same question you were going to ask, either think of a new one, or leave. Don’t bother the Important Person with a slightly modified version of the same question they were just asked. And keep it to one question. There are people behind you with questions of their own.

Finally, do not have an extended conversation with the Important Person while other people are waiting behind you. Even if the Important Person wants to keep yapping with you. Cut it off politely, by saying, “Excuse me, I don’t want to keep the rest of these folks waiting. Thank you so much for answering my question, and maybe we can continue this conversation later by email. Here’s my card.”

That last bit is an incredibly slick and mature move that will probably impress the Important Person and the people behind you in line. You can thank me later.


Jason Bassett September 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Holy crap, I love this line:

“Finally, do not have an extended conversation with the Important Person while other people are waiting behind you.”

I have had so many bad experiences with this and people do this all the time.

Cameron Higgins-Homebrook February 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Thank you, I’ve had one of these multiple questions/ conversationalists in my class and he ended up spoiling a couple talks when we visited GDC, so I know how bad that kind of situation can be (He’s still a good guy though).

But I have to wonder what if you’re question is what hits a nerve with the important person and launches them into a long winded speech about your topic. One that starts to drag on but never actually answers your question.

Would it actually be better to cut him off as above and ask for the full response later or to let him continue until you get your answer?

Darius Kazemi February 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

If the VIP wants to talk at length.. let ‘em!

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: