Online events are something of a double-edged sword in the games industry. On the one hand, they’ve allowed developers to continue meeting with publishers and other collaborators to help with their projects, and they’ve opened up the doors for teams around the world who may not have been able to attend events in person. But equally, going digital brings about its own set of issues, from technical problems right down to losing the human connection in a meeting.
With London Games Festival 2021 taking place this weekend, we wanted to share some tips and tricks to surviving a week of digital meetings, so you can make the most of your time and ensure everyone walks away from your conversation feeling positive.
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people forget to go over the basics of preparation. Have you charged your laptop and any other equipment you’re using? Are your webcam and microphone working? Make a checklist of all the most basic tasks you can think of and ensure they’re done before your first meeting.
If you’ve got a slide deck, playable build, or other supporting materials, it also helps to have all these easily available to share with whoever you’re speaking to. Put everything in a folder online somewhere – Dropbox, Google Drive, whatever you’re comfortable with – and make sure it’s accessible for whoever you’re speaking to. This also helps in case you start having technical issues, since you won’t need to host anything on your end.
Make sure you’ve practiced your pitch a few times, and you know exactly who you’re speaking to and what you want from them. Whoever you’re speaking to, you’ll want to be sure that you give them some background on your career in the industry, show your passion for gaming, and communicate your long-term vision for your game. It’s a great way to build some sense of reliability and trust with your potential business partner – if they can see that you’re invested, they’ll be more likely to invest themselves.
You also need to make sure all your assets are looking the best that they can – which is something we can definitely help with.
Consider your environment
Since you’ll be presenting from your own home, you have a lot more control over your environment. You can use this to your own advantage to make meetings and pitches a little more comfortable – after all, you only need to be presentable from the waist up, so you can set up as many cushions as you like to make your chair comfortable, and you can throw on some sweatpants if you really want to.
You should also consider how your environment looks to others. You should make sure your background, real or virtual, isn’t too distracting – sit in front of a blank wall if you can, or at the very least, ensure the room behind you is clean and tidy. You don’t want your future business partner remembering the mess in your living room more than they remember your game.
Manage your time
You’ve only got 20-30 minutes for each meeting, so you need to make sure you’re using it effectively. Keep your pitch or presentation short, come prepared with a list of questions, and try not to waffle too much when asked a direct question. Everyone you speak to will be busy with meetings, so respect their time as much as you respect your own.
It can also be tempting to book in far more meetings than usual since you aren’t running between rooms, but you should remember to allow yourself some time for breaks. Use these breaks to refine your pitch, get a glass of water and something to eat, and try to get outside for some fresh air.
Pitching your games and ideas is stressful, but nobody wants to speak to a stressed out presenter. Hopefully you’ll be feeling comfortable from taking on the advice above, but try to enjoy yourself too. You’re talking about a project you’re passionate about, and people thrive on passion.
Give yourself a quick pep talk, watch a funny YouTube clip, do whatever makes you feel happy just before a meeting. It’ll put you in a great headspace and make things go much smoother. And if you still stumble or falter in your meeting, just be honest. We’re all human, and whoever you’re speaking to will certainly understand.
With all that in mind, go forth and present your heart out, whether it’s at the London Games Festival or any number of digital events that are popping up around the world.
Need some help getting the message of your game out there? Be sure to get in touch with Project N for all your marketing needs.