The term networking can conjure all sorts of images for people, but the truth of it is that networks provide you with colleagues to discuss your research ideas, potential collaborators, peer support to get you through the tough times, and contacts to help you find future jobs. So you might as well make the most of the potential contacts around you. Here are our top tips:
- Have your contact information available to give people – consider having business cards ready.
- Be aware of your body language – if you are, like me, someone who doesn’t find networking very easy, this can sometimes mean that your body language will give you away, even without you being aware of it. So if you are at an event, make an effort to stand up tall, smile and make eye contact.
- Have a plan – if you are attending a conference, try to get hold of a delegates list before the event so that you know who you want to make contact with while you are there.
- Have a question ready to get conversation flowing.
- Split up – force yourself to leave the comfort of your friends group and make new contacts.
- Go for it…if you are at an event or conference, thats what you are there for.
- Have a strategy ready for how to leave a conversation.
- Keep a note of interesting people or ideas to follow up on afterwards.
- Networking can happen anytime (not just at events) so be sociable.
- Don’t leave an event too early.
For more information and suggestions on where to get started, look at the Networks and Forums pages on the IAD website.
Next post: Thinking about careers…coming soon!
Fiona (Doctoral Training Manager, IAD)