Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More on conferences: networking

Over the years, I have taught myself to overcome my introvert tendencies and talk to new people at conferences (which is the one of the most important reasons to go). I've become somewhat of a decent networker, and have met many people I later worked with later on.

My real weakness these days is in the follow-up. In my head, I know it is important to follow up with the people I met in order to capitalize on the connections I made at the meeting. But once I am home, away from the thrill of the moment, I find it easy to procrastinate and indulge my introvert tendencies. It is easy when someone has asked for a reprint or preprint, but much harder when there is no compelling reason to contact someone. This is definitely something I need to work on, since each step in my career has only strengthened my understanding of how important networking is to any human endeavor.


GMP said...

On the upside, since you are a woman in a field where they are scarce, you are much more likely to stick in someone's memory even if you are not too proactive about following up...

Dr. Girlfriend said...

I’m hopeless without a poster as a prop. I went to a conference recently where on the first day we all participated in a ‘speed networking’ exercise. The idea made me cringe and it is not something I would necessarily volunteer myself for. However, it was written into the program such that most everyone felt obligated to take part and as shy introvert new to the field it really did help me get warmed up.

prodigal academic said...

True, but I would hate to rely on that! And maybe in my career lifetime things will be different.

@Dr. G
It is a learned skill. I used to suck at all aspects of networking, but the more you practice talking to other people without props, the better you get. As an introvert, I had to force myself to get over that initial hump, but it is definitely possible.

Anonymous said...

If I want to keep in touch with someone I met at a conference, what are the ways to do that (other than a short email saying that I enjoyed our discussions)? I would really appreciate it if the readers shared some of their strategies. I am quite bad at keeping up correspondence unless I have a concrete question to ask (or someone has a question).

Postdoc D
-Dr. D