This month, we're going to start the first in our game audio networking series with a simple topic: how to introduce yourself at networking events.
Let me ask you: the last time you were at an event and someone asked "So, what do you do?" how did you respond? Did your booming voice shake this stranger to their very core, or did you stammer out a response that left your conversation partner looking at her watch?
We have introduced ourselves to people thousands of times, but few among us takes the time to get any better at this crucial aspect of meeting people.
Most of us never realize that getting good results from our networking efforts is a skill, not some in-born talent. It takes practice, experimentation, and planning to get good at this.
Here's what to do:
All I want you to do this month is to write down answers to common questions you'll get at networking events. I want you to plan this stuff out ahead of time.
Whether it's in an Evernote, Google doc, or just on a notepad, I want you to write down as many answers as possible to the following questions:
What do you do?
Where are you from?
Who do you know here?
What are you working on?
What games are you playing right now?
While these definitely look simple, we can all improve on how we respond to these common questions. We can come across as more confident and professional, simply by improving our introductions.
Just remember that you don't need to memorize your answers to these questions, or reach for your phone whenever you approach someone. Use your answers as a guideline to follow as strictly or loosely as you like.
When thinking of your answers, I encourage you to go beyond the standard responses:
"I make music for games."
"I'm from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada."
"I'm working on X game."
"I'm just a student/trying to get started in X discipline." <---- I HATE this one.
These statements are boring conversation killers. Try adding some flavor to each of these.
"I create sound/music for games. I make everything from symphonies to explosions."
"I'm from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. A town that is so small that we have a law that states no building can be taller than the church downtown."
"I’m currently working on a game called Hyper Light Drifter. We were Kickstarted last year over 1000% of our goal and we were also just featured in an issue of PC Gamer UK."
"I'm a composer/sound designer working on X game. On top of that, I'm currently studying music composition at X school."
Test the Reactions!
The key here is to test the reactions you get from people you're speaking to. You may introduce yourself as a composer/sound designer to one person, and then to another, you may introduce yourself as an emotional engineer. See which works better and keep using that. See networking events as an opportunity to experiment and practice!