If you’re anything like me, the thought of networking in person sounds too nerve-wracking to try. There’s the chance to embarrass yourself or the risk of burning yourself out socialising while you’re there. 

However, the barrier of introversion doesn’t have to be the end of your networking journey. There are plenty of ways to network and socialise with like-minded game developers that are less scary than a full-blown in-person networking party. 

In this blog post, I’ll be going through some of the great alternatives and ways to cope with networking; from one introvert to another. 

First off, what is networking?

Networking in the games industry involves socialising and building connections with industry professionals or fellow career seekers. This can involve discussions of both professional and personal interests, sharing of portfolios, exchanging business cards, and in some cases potential collaboration on projects!

As we all know, networking is crucial to getting your name out there and heightens your chances of getting a job. Networking not only widens your understanding of the industry and the people within it but also develops your skills in listening and communication, both of which are essential if you’re thinking of working in a team environment in the future. 

"A lot of students need to remember that the people joining the network events are also very scared. I can be a shy person when it comes to networking, but once I realised that a lot of the people joining were just like me, it helped me come out of my shell." - Demi Mark, Games Producer.

Am I an introvert?

Being introverted is often described as being shy and awkward in social situations. Do you find that you need to recharge your social batteries after socialisation? There’s a chance you could be introverted.

However, it’s important to note that the term ‘introverted’ is a generalisation: people often vary on the scale of their socialisation capacity, whether they are more introverted or extroverted, or somewhere in between - also known as an ambivert. 

Because we’re human, our tolerance of social interaction can waver on a daily basis, some days it will be easier, and on others, it will feel near impossible. 

Even the people who seem incredibly confident will have their off days. 

The main thing to keep in mind is your own tolerance, and not allowing yourself to feel pressured into situations that will make your mental health suffer.

"Networking for me has really just been making friends. Lots of people in the games industry are really nice and just want to help each other out anyway! If you're an introvert, it's good to get out of your comfort zone but you don't have to force yourself to be super confident and social." - Rhys Sampson, Multi-Disciplinary Designer.

Is networking possible without attending an in-person event? 

The nature of networking has changed drastically ever since the pandemic, with more and more events moving to a virtual space. I’ve personally found it a lot easier to socialise with fellow game developers in an online setting, through social media and portfolio websites such as ArtStation. I’ve found that leaving a positive comment on someone’s work is a great way to encourage them while also getting some additional eyes on your own work. 

"You'd be shocked how easy it is to make a friend, a new business contract, or simply a connection by reaching out and just talking to people about what they do and how that interests you." - Sam Stevens, Founder of N-Gin Recruitment.  around

Discord is also a great way to connect with a community of game developers all over the world, all from the comfort of your own home. Why not join our Discord to get started?

“The community is very welcoming and helpful, offering advice and critique. The bi-weekly art challenges are amazing, they give different genres each fortnight and the challenges are varied and exciting!”

If you’re looking to network in a more professional context, LinkedIn is the website for you. LinkedIn is used regularly by recruiters and senior staff at companies, and it can be a great website to use to prove your authenticity, and as an online portfolio/CV of sorts. 

One big advantage of online events is that this has also made a lot of events more accessible, eliminating the need to travel to the venue, and sometimes even paying for tickets. 

Why not check out our upcoming online Careers Festival 2022 - 4 days of industry talks and networking opportunities! 

Tips for getting better at networking. 

When writing this article, we reached out on our social media platforms to ask our followers for any key tips they had on networking, and we were met with such a great response! Here are some takeaways:

"I remember one student at an industry event, who had made a list of 5 questions she wanted answered. She went up to every industry person in the room and politely asked if they had a few minutes to answer her questions about how they got their first job in games. This level of bravery left a more lasting impression than any of the more charismatic or famous people I have ever met over the years." - Steve Stopps, Studio Production Director, Excalibur Games.

  • Set yourself small goals. One way to combat how overwhelming networking can feel is by setting yourself small goals. Even if this means starting out by attending online events, and then working your way up to an in-person event! 

  • Try to go to a networking event with a friend. This can help with increasing your confidence, enjoying the event more, and also avoiding over-extending yourself. 

  • Authenticity goes a long way. - relatable, trustworthy, more likable, etc - you want to build connections with people who like who you are and what you’re passionate about in games - so be yourself and don’t be afraid of messing up!

"Don't hide behind a wall of scripts and paragraphs! The best way to network is to be authentic, and let people warm to you on their own." - Georgia Goddard, Aspiring Blogger and Creative.

  • Talk about topics that interest you, and the person you’re talking with! The key idea behind networking is connecting with the person you’re talking to, and there’s no better way to do this than the topic of games! If you are finding that creating small talk or trying to talk about yourself is difficult, you could break the ice by talking about your favourite games together! 

  • Remember: You know 100% more about yourself and your work than anyone else. Be confident in your capabilities and trust that people will be interested to learn about you and what you have to offer.

  • Don’t feel the need to sell yourself to the person you’re speaking with. By this I mean don’t feel like every conversation you have is an interview leading to a job. The conversation should feel natural (as possible) and if you are passionate and yourself, then you’ve networked!

"Don't show up as someone you think you should be. Part of feeling confident in those situations is feeling confident in your own skin, and trusting you too are a valuable connection, and have a voice people want to hear."  - Sophie C., Head of People, AudioMob.

If you’d like to read more tips on networking, take a look at the comments we received on our LinkedIn posts here and here, and our Twitter post here

Seek out events for networking relevant to your interests. 

Gayming Awards, 2022

One great piece of advice is to attend events you’re genuinely excited about! The best way to motivate yourself to put yourself out there and get involved is by attending an event that is really exciting to you. Think of it more as an amazing opportunity to learn more, rather than a test you’ll be taking to get a job or appear hireable. 

If you want the latest information on industry events, you can sign-up for our newsletter, and check out our previous editions! We also feature job listings, resources to develop your skills, and highlights from our Discord community!

Finally… 

“Remember you’re always networking with individuals. People have their own feelings, people have their own thoughts and you wanna make sure that you’re being considerate and thinking about the person you’re chatting with. It’s not a machine, it’s not a transaction, and it’s not guaranteed.” - Jarryd Huntley, ‘Networking Etiquette for the Modern Games Industry Professional’.

We’re all in a similar boat. We all wanna create awesome games, and get our dream jobs! The best thing about networking is the opportunity to learn from each other, develop our skills, and form lasting connections. So, do what you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice! 

Join our Discord community and practice your newfound networking knowledge in a safe space!