In certain industries, networking is a necessity- and games is no exception. Networking can feel scary and a bit weird- especially if you’re new to the industry or feel like you’re not fully represented.
When entering the industry, I was terrified of networking. It felt very transactional- that people would only really be interested in what I would be able to do for them. Would anybody actually be interested in me as a person? What if I have nothing to offer? What if I just want to make friends? Turns out, a lot of people feel this way.
Thankfully, networking doesn’t have to be a Big Scary Monster. It’s a great opportunity to meet cool people doing awesome things (spoiler: you are also one of those cool people doing awesome things). As a bonus, you might even get to do awesome things together. Is there anything more wholesome?
But what do I do???
GOOD question! First of all, it’s important to 💖be yourself 💖. Secondly, recognise that you always have something to offer! You may not have money or resources or years of experience (yet), but you have everything that makes you unique and wonderful. Maybe you’re good at making people laugh, or organising team activities. Maybe you have an eye for details or are very empathetic. Maybe you can identify every type of native tree. These things are just as valuable as any job experience.
You’re not an impostor!
Impostor syndrome is real- and everyone feels it. You feel like at any moment everyone is going to find out you’re a fake and have no place there. When impostor syndrome rears its ugly head, tell it to shush. Impostor syndrome likes to scare you- but it doesn’t have to. Write yourself a nice long list of all the weird and wonderful things that make you You. Memorise it. Remind yourself that you do deserve to be here, and you are worthy. And remember- everyone feels impostor syndrome. If all else fails, fake it ’till you make it. Because let’s be real, everyone is too.
Remember the Inigo Montoya Introduction
Inigo is good at two things: vengeance and introductions. Remember the formula, and you can’t go wrong. Unless you’re introducing yourself to the man who killed your father, which might be a bit awkward.
Wisdom from the mentors
The mentors walked through awkward interactions, so we could run… into some more awkward interactions. But that’s the beauty of networking! Here’s some wonderful advice from the mentors:
🍷 Drinking is not a necessity, no matter what it looks like.
😳 Not every interaction will be great. Some nights, they
might all be awkward or weird. This is not a failure, and
a lot of the time it’s not even that you did anything wrong!
🌐 Networking comes in many forms, and doesn’t even have
to be face to face or involve partying and schmoozing!
Social media and personal branding are just as great,
if not more important tools to grow your network.
Embrace the networking style that you thrive in!
👯♀️ Having a networking buddy can make everything 200%
easier, especially if you’re a naturally introverted or shy
person. Got an extroverted friend? Let them know who
you’d like to chat with at an event, and follow their lead.
👠 If networking makes you nervous, this sounds super
simple but it has helped me a lot, wear comfortable
clothes and shoes! I used to think I had to dress
and look like a more polished version of myself for
networking events, and it always ended up being
another thing to worry about.
Focus on setting yourself up to be comfortable
and relaxed – nobody is looking at your shoes.
🤕 Know your limits! Just because someone else can party
all night with influencers doesn’t mean you have to.
Knowing your comfort level and when you’re ready
to leave is a sign of maturity and emotional intelligence
that will reflect well on you.
📝 Do your research. If you’re going to an event where
this is at all possible, it’s good to prep by doing some
Googling of the relevant people in that space.
Being informed and interested comes across well!
❓ If all else fails, ask questions. One of your greatest
networking tools as a newcomer is your natural curiosity.
People love to talk about themselves and their work!
You’ll find that the more you give, the more you get.