This is the beginning (or not) of a beautiful friendship
October 21, 2021
Meteor: scicomm with impact
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?
- 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: https://thesiswhisperer.com/2020/02/05/academic-spy-networks-and-why-you-need-one/).
- 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 (https://www.twitter.com/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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