At a Con…

#1 Smile at everyone.
#2 Greet everyone with a handshake.
#3 Relax, this is supposed to be fun, make sure it is.
#4 You will not get what you do not ask for.
#5 The worst thing that can happen is they laugh and tell you to get out of their booth.
#6 Take a break every 30 minutes – go to the bathroom, tweet a picture, phone a friend. Take 5 minutes to decompress.
#7 Stop pressuring yourself, not every interaction is going to be successful.

It might go against your personality type, but you have no reason to be shy. Everyone is there to make an impression, socialize, and check out what’s new.
Well guess what… 95% of people, you’re NEW!

Everyone knows development typically takes years, this is a very stressful time for a developer, this could the first time they’re letting their “baby” out into the public.
It is the culmination of years of hard work.
Be nice to them – they’re more nervous than you, and understandably so.

Take Every Opportunity!
Don’t waste a single opportunity to talk to a developer. They are there to ‘sell you’ something, even if it’s only an idea at this stage.
Start a conversation with “Hi, my name is….. Tell me about XYZ” and then LISTEN carefully.
Take notes. You don’t have an infallible memory.
Take notes even if you’re not interested, you might know someone else that is interested and you wouldn’t want to misinform them.

They may or may not have a well prepared pitch, it doesn’t matter how good it is, listen anyway. If they’re not a salesman, they are probably very reluctant to ‘sell’ you their thoughts.
Once the pitch is over, ask them what they think.
Ask them who is this game aimed at? What Genre is it? What kind of feedback have they had so far? How are the controls? What’s the biggest challenge? How long is the game? Is there replay value?
Ask intelligent questions that show that you paid attention.
Ask for a demo.
Ask for access to beta phases. Ask if it’s exclusive (or possibly could be).
Then, start your pitch.
This is the hardest part for most people – ‘Sell’ yourself.
Tell them why you are a good choice to represent their product – because that’s how they see it.
Tell them about your audience, they NEED to know who they’re going to be exposed to.
Tell them the type of communities you’re involved with outside of your own (Charities, other gaming communities, other developers you have a relationship with).
Developers are a tight community, even though they may be rivals, but that just means you’ll get found out real quick if you’re a fraud! Don’t do irreparable damage.

If you’re attending on multiple days, revisit developers. Ask new questions.
How was your day yesterday? Did you meet anyone interesting? Have you had a good response? Ask something relevant about their game. Show genuine interest, they’ll remember that.

Whatever time you get done with the day, don’t forget to reach out to all the developers you met that day. Either via email, or twitter, etc. Thank them for their time, tell them again why you’re excited about game “xyz”. Ask for demo/beta keys.
If you don’t ask for them, you’ll never get them.
As time passes developers are less likely to remember why they liked you. They met 10000 people today, why should they remember you?
Strike while the iron is hot to increase your chances of forming a relationship with them.
Attending a con is a huge distraction for a developer and something they’re not used to doing every day. You need them to recognize your name. In each of your follow ups, mention what you can offer, who you work with, who your community is, etc. Your diligence builds a positive impression with the developer and helps build your relationship with them. Pretty soon, they’ll be asking you questions.

Just one day can have a transformational impact on your relationship with a developer, but most of that work won’t be done on that day.

Talk to everyone you can, and you’ll reap the rewards.