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Education and outreach

How to succeed at networking in science

30 Mar 2016

New to networking? Not sure how standing around talking with fellow scientists in a crowded conference room will help advance your career or your research? Join science careers consultant Alaina Levine and other science-networking pros as they share their tips and advice with reviews and careers editor Margaret Harris in this edition of the Physics World podcast

Imagine you are a student attending your first science conference. It’s going pretty well. You went to a great talk this morning, and when you asked the speaker a question, their answer was really helpful – in fact, you think it might help crack the problem you’ve been working on. Now you’ve got a couple of hours before the evening poster session, so you pull out the conference programme, check your schedule – and let out an involuntary groan. It’s time for the conference’s official “networking” session.

You know that networking is important. In fact, you’ve probably been told that it’s vital for your career. But as you approach a room full of people chatting over drinks and nibbles, you find yourself wondering, how is this going to help me?

For many scientists, networking does not come naturally. In some cases, this is simply because we’re shy. But it’s also easy to confuse networking with schmoozing, sucking up in order to get a job, or “selling” one’s work – tactics that are frowned upon by many scientists, who believe the quality of research should speak for itself. Whatever the reasons, though, this edition of the Physics World podcast will explain what networking really is and convince novices to give it their best shot – while also suggesting a few tips to help more experienced networkers make the most of their next conference.

In this podcast, you will hear from a number of top networking specialists:

  • Alaina Levine, science careers consultant and author of the book Networking for Nerds: Find, Access and Land Hidden Game-Changing Career Opportunities Everywhere;
  • Margaret Harris, Physics World‘s careers and reviews editor, who tried some of Levine’s tips at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS);
  • Rush Holt, physicist, former US congressman and chief executive officer of the AAAS; and
  • Geri Richmond, physical chemist and president of the AAAS.


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