Networking Tips for Sundance

A few of my students are at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City and asked if I had any networking tips for Sundance—and festivals—in general. The first, and perhaps most important, is this: “Talk to everyone. You never know who is in line next to you.”

Here are a few other tips for first-time Sundance goers:

1. Have fun! You are a 20-something and should enjoy all that being 20-something has to offer.

2. Keep your public conversations positive. People work really hard on these films, and you don’t know if you’re standing next to a director or a crew member of a film that you’re be discussing. Remember the Theodore Roosevelt quote about the man in the arena.

3. Wear something that identifies you as part of a tribe. For example, when at an airport or festival, wear a hat from your current school, favorite team sweatshirt, or something that shows your affinity for a cause. Your outer appearance should be aligned with your inner self. Tell people who you are without saying a word. Someone will spot you as part of their tribe and conversation will flow.

4. It is better to receive than give. In this case, I’m talking about business cards. Remember, when you take a business card, you have the power to follow up.

5. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio. People like to talk about themselves, their projects, and what they are doing. So just listen and get to know the festival-goers.

Have fun, my grads.