This is the beginning (or not) of a beautiful friendship

October 21, 2021 Meteor: scicomm with impact Season 1 Episode 4
This is the beginning (or not) of a beautiful friendship
Show Notes

We are going to assume that #1: you agree that we could all benefit from expanding our networks, but #2: there’s a cultural treatment of networking as if it has a bad aftertaste. 🤢 

There are some real challenges here: 

  • How do you find people, or pick people to contact? Especially if you’re offering even a pipsqueak-sized platform or you’re inviting them into a space that will reflect on you or your brand? 
  • How do we ask for people’s attention in respectful ways that leave puh-lennnnty of room for them to say no? 😣 
  • Whaddya do if you can’t pay someone and you’re asking for their time and expertise? 
  • And, omg, how do we tackle the gatekeeping aspect of all this!?! 

Examine your own feelings about networking: 

How do you get info about people you don’t already know? What concrete steps can you take to build on that? 

We propose: 

  • If you can’t get over the ick or tongue-tied part of networking, remember: humans evolved as a social species. Lean into the biology. 🤓 
  • Be really up front (but not crass!) about whether you can pay people or not. And if you can, find other ways to provide value for them (exposure isn’t enough; you can die of exposure 🥶). 
  • Remember that networks are relationships, not transactions (though Virginia thinks that relationships may feel like transactions). Investing in a relationship is a long-term commitment (Bethann likes Inger Mewburn’s take on this: 
  • Expect people to say no to you and give yourself the grace to decline invitations, too. 
  • Do your homework. For example, lots of tools exist for finding minoritized voices. 

*** Join this conversation: follow us here and say hello (tell us how branding impacts you!) on Twitter with @MeteorSciComm ( 

Listen to the full episode for all that ☝, plus: 

  • Rough scripts for framing invitations and referral requests. 
  • The rubric we used for setting up a recent panel on inclusive scicomm training. 
  • Taking the mentorship convo another step, to sponsorship. 
  • How to borrow a simple strategy Bethann’s used to start relationships that (over the long haul) grew into research projects, funded grant applications, and publications. 

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