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The N Word. Look at it another way. December 9, 2010

Posted by qmresearchers in Uncategorized.

All of you will have been told so many times that it is essential to network!

There are hundreds of on-line resources that will advise you on how to open a conversation or how to approach a group of people at a conference etc.  Notions from the world of sales and business make it feel as though you need to be an extrovert to be a good networker. Here are some tips for the less bold people amongst us.

1) Think about the benefits to you and them

A shift in thinking and perspective about the N word might convince you to embrace it. Think about some of the benefits to both you and the people who you network with. Building your network:

  • Offers potential to form collaborations, share ideas and resources.
  • Can expand your knowledge of a sector/research subject etc.
  • Gives you insight into opportunities within a sector
  • May increase your chance of finding future employment.

2) Carry out Information Interviews

I have spoken to many researchers about the notion of information interviewing and they have really embraced the idea as a strategy for networking. It involves asking people for information about a job or career path. It is really about curious enquiry rather than a ‘hard sell’ and can feel a lot easier than having to sell oneself and ask for a job. Information interviewing may not result in an immediate job offer but you will gain some useful insider information about the job or sector that you wish to work in.

3) Give people reasons to talk to you

Rather than having to strike up a conversation with someone at a conference, give people a reason to come and speak to you. Give a talk or present a poster. This will mean that people are more likely to speak to you about your research and you will not have to make the first approach.

4) Do some online research and networking

Find out about people online. Some sectors will use on-line networking more than others but do explore sites like linked-in and twitter.

On linked-in you can search for individuals, companies and jobs. This can be a good starting place to find the names of relevant. If you start with company websites, it is difficult  to find individuals within the company.

Also, think about contributing to discussion forums as this is one way to get your name known and raise your on-line profile.





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