Game networking - effective networking you don't know

How often do you get involved in effective networking? I want to share with you a completely new experience in which I had the opportunity to participate at the DataWorkshop Club Conf conference.

At the end of the post, I added a few useful tips on what you can do to do more efficient networking.

The whole event took place at the DataWorkshop Club Conf. This is a conference on machine learning. This year's (2019) leitmotif was "State of The Art". It was felt in at least two dimensions, but I will write about it another time. At the moment, greetings to Vladimir @slon1024 and the whole team that made such a wonderful event possible.

dataworkshop club conf


If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there (R.Kiyosaki).

Someone might ask what networking is?

Networking is the process of exchanging information, resources, mutual support and opportunities, conducted through a beneficial network of mutual contacts.

In practice, this is usually an open space in the designated time and place, usually after the conference.

The problem is that a large proportion of people are usually shy. In my experience only speakers and people who know each other stay on networking. Of course, this is not always the case, it depends a lot on the participants.

If you attend any conference, you probably know what I mean.

Is it possible to solve this problem better and to involve the remaining part more effectively?

Game Networking

We could read on the conference website:

We designed Game Networking to optimize the search for such people. During the hour you will meet from 25 to 30 people who have similar interests and different experience. You will not have to talk about the weather, don't worry. The moderator will keep his finger on the pulse and will take care of the topic of conversation and a good atmosphere.

How did it look in practice?

Everyone at their conference badge had two numbers listed from the beginning.

At the appointed time (in the middle of the conference, which in my opinion is much better than at the end), it was necessary to approach the table with the first badge number. The table numbers were written on floating balloons.

game networking balloons

The game consists of two rounds, each at a different table with a different number. It gave a chance to meet a maximum of a lot of people in the minimum possible time. Each table had one moderator assigned to supervise the discussion. In turn, each moderator had a set of questions.

By the way, each of these questions is interesting enough to deserve a separate blog post 😉.

Round 1 questions:

  1. Tell your name. What do you do? Why are you interested in machine learning?
  2. Imagine that you don't have to work for money anymore (because you have enough money). What would you do then?
  3. What the world will look like in 20 years?

Round 2 questions:

  1. Tell your name. What are your current needs in the field of machine learning?
  2. Which professions can be soon replaced by AI?
  3. Is creativity only a human quality? Can the so-called AI be as creative as a human or even more than human?

The fun lasted an hour, but it wasn't enough for me. I could easily meet new people after the break and participate in fascinating discussions. On the other hand, you have to set a limit somewhere.

I asked the organizer how he selects people, here is what he answered:

Vladimir: we use a special algorithm that aims to maximize the average of the unique people you meet

In my opinion, it was the best free time spent at the conference.

Tips for better networking

  1. Take your business cards with you. If you don't have one, make yourself. It can even be a printed piece of paper with your Twitter handle or email.
  2. Write on the badge who you are and what you do. Sometimes you can meet with a prepared place or stickers (like below), but it's scarcity. Make it easier for people to get to know you.
  3. Prepare your elevator pitch. Be ready to introduce yourself in less than 30 seconds. For example my elevator pitch: "Hi, my name is Arkadiusz, and I'm Data Scientist and Software Architect currently working for CI/CD server product called Buddy". Also remember that your pitch may vary depending on the conference, i.e. the environment with which you meet.
  4. Prepare your exit cues. Good entry is half the battle. You also need to be able to end the conversation well. For example: "Thanks for the conversation I’ll find you on LinkedIn".
  5. Be yourself. Don't try to act artificially and pretend to be someone you are not.
  6. If you are going to take care of the contacts you have met, consider using Contact Management System.
  7. Use Twitter and add content with conference hashtag. Post pictures and thank you's. This will get you new followers and activity.
  8. Try new things. Often at conferences you can find interesting exhibitions or stands presenting some solutions (for example, miniature autonomous cars). Don't be afraid to experiment and enter into a discussion with exhibitors.
  9. Listen, learn and interact. At first, try to make it more about others.
  10. Finally: enjoy the conference and the opportunity to meet new people. After all, it's time just for you.

At the very end, also find some time to record the events of the previous day. Remember that your memory is not eternal, try to write down notes so that you can return to them at any time.

Have you ever participated in a similar event? Let me know in the comments.

Arkadiusz Kondas
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