Whether you’re going to SXSW for the music, comedy, films, or conferences, you’re sure to meet some quirky, intelligent, like-minded people. While you don’t have to make it an official networking trip, there are a few ways you can make it easier on yourself when meeting new people and making connections, personally and for business. Whatever your goal is for this year’s SXSW, here are three tips for next-level networking at SXSW.
Find your flow
SXSW networking is unique in that it happens so much more organically than at a typical conference (picture a stuffy room, cocktail tables, and stale snacks). There are a few ways to experience networking at SXSW, and I recommend giving each of them a try at least once. Lounges are probably the chillest way to network at SXSW. They’re areas you can go to get focused work done, recharge (your brain and devices), and meet other professionals. Meet Ups are a bit more topic-focused, so most people go in with the purpose of networking. Finally, check out the many Parties thrown throughout the week for low-key networking mixed with fun, drinks, and food.
Bring your business card
Yep, just one—the V1CE is next-level networking. It’s a digital business card that looks like a credit card. Here’s how it works: you pre-fill your info onto the card (I recommend putting SXSW in your details, so they remember where they met you), then just tap the card to pretty much any phone to transfer your info right into their contacts (*mind blown*). It comes in metal, bamboo, and plastic finishes, and you can add whatever design or logo you’d like to the front. This saves you from lugging around a bunch of paper cards that get lost or otherwise stashed away in a junk drawer. Plus, it’s super techy and professional—I predict it’ll be a SXSW hit.
Stay connected on social
Even if you’re not a big social media person, it’s important to keep a pulse on SXSW happenings while you’re there (social is the best way to figure out what’s going on—and quickly). Staying connected on social also gives easy talking points and conversation starters. Find where the buzz is and follow it! You don’t have to be a professional social media manager or have a large following to keep up. Look out for hashtags and accounts mentioned that may be relevant to you or your field and follow the breadcrumbs to your kind of people.