Non-Stop Networking at a Conference

Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 

lotuspuppy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 995
Location: On a journey to the center of the mind

10 Jan 2014, 11:58 pm

This is technically a graduate school problem, but I feel those in the working world can relate to this better.

I am in a professional program in graduate school. Starting on Sunday, I'm attending my industry's biggest annual conference in the U.S, and possibly the world. Professionals who work on multiple aspects of this industry will be there, and I know academics from each of the worlds' habitable continents will be there. The conference is from Sunday through Thursday, and there will be a wide array of lectures, workshops, meetings, and receptions. I expect to network throughout the whole event. Frankly, I find the prospect of all of that networking daunting. Everyone else will be there to network as well, and I do not know how they do it.

How do I survive four days of non-stop networking? If it helps, I have some definite goals on what I want (an internship and to promote my research). I also happen to have family in this same city as the conference, so they should help give me support.



fossil_n
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 3 May 2012
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Posts: 159

11 Jan 2014, 2:27 am

I can't really offer any advice, you sound like you are much more on top of academic conference networking than I am, but I just wanted to say how much I hate conferences. The talks are good, in fact they are good places to hide from having to interact. When I was an undergrad and HAD to network with potential future graduate advisors, I treated it like diving underwater, jump into the social pool, say my bit, and get out again as fast as possible so I could breathe again. Not that it did me any good, the graduate advisor I have now, I didn't meet face to face until my first day of grad school.

Someday though, my avoidence of networking is probably going come back and bite me. At least I'm in a sub-field where reclusiveness is normal.



trick70
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Age: 52
Gender: Male
Posts: 26

11 Jan 2014, 5:11 pm

I don't believe there is any way to feel comfortable with networking. I would suggest coming armed with a few questions. "My (job/field) is very interested in ---, what are your thoughts on this subject?" It has worked for me. I don't have to talk much, just try to listen. Giving people a chance to talk as an expert is an effective way to get them to remember you.



auntblabby
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Gender: Male
Posts: 111,717
Location: the island of defective toy santas

12 Jan 2014, 9:14 pm

I am not comprehending this whole "networking" thing. :huh:



thewhitrbbit
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 30 May 2012
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,124

13 Jan 2014, 9:27 am

Get some business cards if you don't have them either from your employer or a company like Vistaprint.

Come up with some stock questions to ask.

Take some time to attend the presentations and lectures as a break.

Enjoy the city your conference is in.



Billw1628
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 2 Feb 2014
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Posts: 60
Location: California

03 Feb 2014, 7:29 pm

I went through this drill at least a couple times a year, as I am an occupational therapist by trade. Aside from business cards and resumes/CV's, I would say be really prepared to do small talk throughout your event. Also, if you have something important to do (like presentation), make sure you pace yourself so that you don't get burned out. If you have to take a brief break in the hotel room, then make sure you schedule things in such a way that you don't miss out on the important stuff. Also, lastly, suck it up the best you can and do your best to be in your A game.



Marky9
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Mar 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,625
Location: USA

08 Feb 2014, 8:56 am

In addition to all the prior good points, I have found it helpful to retreat to my room for a nap or something as needed. Of course this assumes that the conference takes place either in or in close proximity to my hotel.


_________________
"Righteous indignation is best left to those who are better able to handle it." - Bill W.