*(delete as appropriate)
Which of the following best describes you at a conference?
__ Life of the conference – always leave having given out a stack of cards and collecting invites to give seminars
__ Making sure whatever session I’m in is the trending topic on Twitter
__ Browsing posters on coffee breaks and chatting with one or two people about the weather.
__ Most likely to be found lurking in dark corners/behind the poster presentations with people from your lab/office
__ Spend most of the time drifting in the spaces between groups of tightly knit people who all know each other wondering how to join the conversation
__ What is the point of talking to anyone? It’s not as if they’re going to give you a job.
Think about your response and consider: Are you making the most of conferences? Do you appreciate the relevance of networking to a successful career in (or out) of academia? What could you be doing differently to feel more comfortable, more confident and more productive?
Conferences (as well as other events – and even your departmental kitchen or common room) are brilliant opportunities to meet people, acquire information, get advice, explore ideas, raise your profile and generate research opportunities.
Here’s some useful advice to help you make the most of networking opportunities (aka – making friends):