Following the discussion in the last Career Impulse Session on Networking, I compiled some concrete, easy to apply ideas about how to start networking:
Start an “Interesting People Fund” (suggested by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha): Invest this money in going to meet people and inviting people to a coffee or similar.
“Imagine you got laid off today. Who are the 5-10 people you’d write to for advice? Make sure to invest in those relationships regularly, not just when you have an urgent need.” (suggested by Adam Rifkin): This will help you to focus your networking activities. However, don’t forget the importance of diversity in your network.
“In the next week: Introduce two people who do not know each other but ought to. Then think about a challenge you face and ask for an introduction to a connection in your network who could help.” (suggested by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha): This might also be a good way to facilitate the networking among postdocs in Göttingen.
“Do a “five minute favor” every day” (suggested by Adam Grant): This is really not a big deal, but will have a huge impact.
“Get a business card” (suggested by Peter Fiske): If you not already have, you should definitely get some. Or can you remember every name of people you met at a talk or at a conference? How much easier is it to make a follow-up after a conference with a stack of business cards – at best with a short note about the person on the backside.
“Send out preprints” (suggested by Peter Fiske): Therewith, you can kill two birds with one stone: You can provide others with valuable information and make your own work more visible in the scientific community.
“Share your passion” (suggested by Colleen DeBaise): With whom do you like to speak more, a colleague who is very passionate and cheerful or a colleague who struggles with his achievements and is rather unhappy? A positive, enthusiastic atmosphere open doors and makes the conversation enjoyable. And not just this: You can also only convince people of the value of your research or your expertise, if you are convinced yourself.
So, I think 7 tips for the start are enough. I hope that you find them just as convincing as I do!
Some more thoughts and links about doing social networking online, you can find here.
If you cannot find something convincing for yourself, you might want to have a look on the 24 networking tips here.