Making that initial connection at a conference, the “hi, I’m x, from y, and working on z” can be easy. However, making a connection that lasts longer than those initial two minutes is harder. It’s been about a week and half since my conference ended. Which means, it’s a great time to reach out to those I met and networked with and try to stregthen those connections.
Often, at conferences, there will be verbal agreements of “I’ll send you a copy of x” or “yeah, pass that along when you find it.” If you’ve done one of these before, you’ll probably know that often they aren’t followed through on. But, being the one to follow through is a great step to making that connection. It shows the other person that you’re reliable, that you remember, and that you follow through.
What are a few ways you can do so?
- Send off a quick email or phone call
- Pass along any information you come across that might be of interest to them and their research
- If you live near each other (at this conference I met people from my university, but not my department), arrange to go grab a coffee/drink/snack
Some people like to immediately become Facebook/Twitter/Google+ friends. And I’ve added a few. But I find it’s much harder to make any connection on Facebook. Usually, once you add them, they just become “another face in the crowd” and you may or may not occasionally like each others statuses. I do try to make sure I ‘like’ when people announce academic achievements – like passing a defence/candidacy.
However, many people like to keep their personal lives and academic lives separate. So don’t be surprised if people don’t want to add you, and you should feel comfortable turning down requests from others. Of course, if you don’t want to add others, it’s a good idea to set your privacy levels high so it’s harder for others to find you.
What steps do you take to stay in contact with people you meet?