Networking has been really scary for me. It’s hard to meet other trainees and professors during conferences. I’ve had a hard time meeting others during conferences… typically I am alone at a conference.
But I have met really great people along the way and have learned something new every time!
Here are some of the ways that I meet other people during conferences:
- Meet others during lunch. If you see someone at a table alone… go up and ask if you can have lunch with them. (this is how I met my current supervisor!)
- Go to new trainee events (some conferences have separate talks or professional meet the researcher talks just for trainees and graduate students. I love going to these especially at a larger conference because you typically get to meet a smaller group of people and make connections easier that way.)
- Use conference hashtags or twitter meetups. (I’m my field, Twitter has gotten a lot of traction. Conferences use hashtags and encourage everyone to connect online.)
- Go to the vendors (Vendors at a conference are amazing and super nice and friendly. Some of them have been previous graduate students. They not only just answer questions about the products they are selling, but they are more then happy to chat with you! I have learned about jobs and difference career paths outside of academia by speaking with vendor representatives.)
Sometimes you do meet some people who don’t want to talk to you. But most of them do and are really friendly!! Don’t give up is my best advice!
Hope this helps.