I went to a networking seminar today and met some fellow occupants of the raft. People clinging on despite jobs, despite children and despite working in male-dominated disciplines against the background of being from a culture which values meekness and subservience in woman.
It was a great experience, and really made me think about not only how I can present my research quickly and succinctly in the best light, but also what I want from network connections. Previously I’ve networked because I like people and I like making friends, I’ve been here at the uni so long and in so many different capacities that my network is pretty substantial, but I never really thought hard about how that network could be more than a source of pleasure and support, and more a source of valuable connections, and how useful benefits could flow both ways. I tend to be the giver in my relationships as I forget to think about what others can bring to me – and I tend to be amazed and surprised when people do chose of their own volition to do something that benefits me and not them. A perfect example is the word of mouth through which my business has spread – I couldn’t have done this without several brilliant advocates and I was always amazed that they would recommend me without any thought of personal gain.
Now I just need to work on my “elevator pitch” before I attend any conferences.