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going to a conference tomorrow for "networking", need tips

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
im working as a legal intern (graduated law school) right now doing work ip/copyright work with particular interest in video games/gaming industry. my only background in this area is that i just play a shit ton of video games (or used to) and keep pretty current with its news. i have no schooling background in ip law nor do i have any engineering/science background, but i do have a genuine interest and passion for this particular area.

im heading to a conference tomorrow alone (nygamesconference.com) as a "reward" for all of my hard work this summer because my boss thought this would be a good opportunity for me to network and learn about more legal issues in the area.

this is sad, but ive never really networked like this before and have no idea what to do. im not a complete social idiot, but can come off as aloof and awkward, especially when it comes to talking to strangers in this setting.

so what are your tips? thanks.
post #2 of 8

Off the top of my head...

 

The top thing?  Don't forget to smile.  A smile is the handshake before the handshake.

 

Create an elevator pitch about yourself.  This may or may not come out during your event, but its good to have regardless.  Basically its a 60-90 second pitch about yourself.  Use this to help: http://www.alumni.hbs.edu/careers/pitch/

 

Prepare a list of questions you may want to ask people.  One I always go with is "so how did you end up here at ______?"  People like to talk about themselves and it gives a long opportunity for you to identify what other branching topics you can explore during that conversation.  

 

Bring business cards.  Lots of 'em.  Get theirs.  If there was something in particular you connected with, write them an email afterwards to thank them for meeting with you.

 

I know you said you're pretty current on news... but make sure you are current, period.  Before going, read a few day's worth of news about the industry.  Then you'll have some fresh material to turn to if necessary during a conversation.  Better yet, add your own twist on events.  

 

Look up some of the attendees, see if there's anyone or any company you are particularly interested in meeting.  Then look them up on Linkedin / Wikipedia / Google News / etc.

 

That's all I have for now.  Hope its somewhat helpful.


Edited by byau - 9/4/12 at 4:08pm
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by byau View Post

Off the top of my head...

The top thing?  Don't forget to smile.  A smile is the handshake before the handshake.

Create an elevator pitch about yourself.  This may or may not come out during your event, but its good to have regardless.  Basically its a 60-90 second pitch about yourself.  Use this to help: http://www.alumni.hbs.edu/careers/pitch/

Prepare a list of questions you may want to ask people.  One I always go with is "so how did you end up here at ______?"  People like to talk about themselves and it gives a long opportunity for you to identify what other branching topics you can explore during that conversation.  

Bring business cards.  Lots of 'em.  Get theirs.  If there was something in particular you connected with, write them an email afterwards to thank them for meeting with you.

I know you said you're pretty current on news... but make sure you are current, period.  Before going, read a few day's worth of news about the industry.  Then you'll have some fresh material to turn to if necessary during a conversation.  Better yet, add your own twist on events.  

Look up some of the attendees, see if there's anyone or any company you are particularly interested in meeting.  Then look them up on Linkedin / Wikipedia / Google News / etc.

That's all I have for now.  Hope its somewhat helpful.

Spot on!
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by byau View Post

Off the top of my head...

 

The top thing?  Don't forget to smile.  A smile is the handshake before the handshake.

 

Create an elevator pitch about yourself.  This may or may not come out during your event, but its good to have regardless.  Basically its a 60-90 second pitch about yourself.  Use this to help: http://www.alumni.hbs.edu/careers/pitch/

 

Prepare a list of questions you may want to ask people.  One I always go with is "so how did you end up here at ______?"  People like to talk about themselves and it gives a long opportunity for you to identify what other branching topics you can explore during that conversation.  

 

Bring business cards.  Lots of 'em.  Get theirs.  If there was something in particular you connected with, write them an email afterwards to thank them for meeting with you.

 

I know you said you're pretty current on news... but make sure you are current, period.  Before going, read a few day's worth of news about the industry.  Then you'll have some fresh material to turn to if necessary during a conversation.  Better yet, add your own twist on events.  

 

Look up some of the attendees, see if there's anyone or any company you are particularly interested in meeting.  Then look them up on Linkedin / Wikipedia / Google News / etc.

 

That's all I have for now.  Hope its somewhat helpful.

 

Very good advice. One piece of advice that I have for you is to write things down. You'll most likely meet loads of people and everyone will tell you a lot of stuff. That's too much for you to remember. So, after you've talked to the person, discreetly write some of their key info down. If you can summarize it on their business card, even better. Some may say that you can record the conversations, but I don't recommend that. Aside from being potentially illegal and creepy, people will be alienated if they find out, thus ruining the whole point of the networking event. 

post #5 of 8
^ Yeah, in the event you receive a lot of business cards and have plenty of conversation you may want to periodically go to the restroom or somewhere quiet to make notes on each person you met. Either on the back of their cards or on a notepad/portfolio you should have nearby.
post #6 of 8

So how'd it go?

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks for the advice! the hbs pitch thing was pretty cool and was actually really helpful.

overall i think it went ok. i got a lot of business cards, and gave away a lot of my name cards out there. however, there is definitely big room for improvement.

i need to work on just getting over myself and going up to people and making the initial contact, as im not the most gregarious person. im just bad at introducing myself "out of the blue" because i feel awkward which is so dumb. there were a lot of missed opportunities; i would make eye contact with someone standing around but then would chicken out.

another critique of me is that i wasnt sharp and quick enough to read people and to align my interests with theirs. i feel like i lost a lot of people that way as our conversation went stale, and as a result i was unmemorable. i dunno if thats the way i generally am, or if it was just a product of me having to pull an all nighter before arriving confused.gif

there are a few people i want to email; is there an etiquette on when to do it? obviously i dont want to wait until the end of next week, but are weekends ok?
post #8 of 8
Sounds like a pretty typical networking experience. Bravo, for going through with it. Don't send a weekend email to a business contact that you don't know that well. It can wait until Monday morning. Write and save a draft now if you feel the need. Keep it short but relevant.
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