The Dark Art Of Networking At SXSW Sydney 2023

October 3, 2023

Since its inception, SXSW® has been a huge opportunity for attendees to build professional relationships, so here’s a few Dos and Don’ts of networking to help you get the most out of SXSW Sydney 2023.

Do: Remember to take it all in

Firstly, make sure you’re enjoying the event. There’s a tonne of inspiration and insight to gain, so try not to get hung up on manufacturing professional meet-cutes all day. Enjoy it (while earnestly adding things to your notes app, of course).

Don’t: leave everything to chance

While you should allow yourself to actually enjoy the program, if you also want to bump into a local DOP, only going to the Crab Games Showcase might not be the best strategy, so place yourself at the events that make sense.

Do: Have a goal

Your networking goal might be to solidify an existing relationship, find a potential project partner or strike up some banter with someone in a similar field. Your plan might be to have an acquaintance introduce you to someone at the event. Whatever it is, our advice is to plan for quality networking over quantity.

Don’t: obsessively view someone’s LinkedIn in the hopes they’ll see it and invite you for coffee

At best it’s an interesting way to utilise the platform. At worst it’s a little creepy.

Do: Prepare an elevator pitch

This is particularly handy for going in cold or unexpected introductions. Remember, it doesn’t need to be that serious but there’s a few things you definitely want to establish and exchange before you make a B-line for the food trucks:

  1. Decide on an icebreaker: for example, ask which events they’ve attended or are keen to see.
  2. Introduce yourself properly. You’d be surprised how many people forget to mention their own name, let alone where they work.
  3. Commit their name to memory because 1. It’s just good manners; and 2. You’ll know what to yell out when you bump into them in the crowd at a live music gig.
  4. Read the room: A lot of people will be working, networking or enjoying the program so try to avoid cornering anyone or monopolising their time.
  5. Reconnect: Feel out whether you think it’s appropriate to follow up with them later. It could be as simple as a follow on social media or contacting them about a specific project or subject you’d like to discuss with them.

Don’t: Try to network while in the front row of a gig

This won’t be fun for anyone, especially the artist. “You never know who you’re going to bump into” should not be taken too literally.

Do: Use us as an icebreaker

Before the event, a simple “Heading to SXSW Sydney in October, see you there?” can be the perfect setup for some shmooze time. And keep in mind, the majority of our punters will travel in packs, typically departments, teams or clients and suppliers, so a well-timed meet-up could also lead to a swathe of introductions.

Don’t: Assert dominance by crowd-surfing your way over to them

To be fair, this would look cool, but better safe than sorry.

Do: Keep your event badge or wristband close

Or you might find yourself networking on the light rail.

Purchase Your Badge or Wristband Now

Ready to put all our Dos and Don’t into practice? We thought so. Don’t miss out on the biggest event of the year: start practicing your elevator pitch and secure your SXSW Sydney access today.

There are two Badges you can get your hands on – the Platinum Badge, and Industry Badge. For a brief rundown about which is right for you, have a read over our handy explainer here.

Alternatively, SXSW Sydney Wristbands will grant you incredible access across the Games, Music, and Screen Festivals – at a very affordable price.

Head here and find the right level of access for you.