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09/03/11
Networking at a National Meeting
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 7:10 am

One of the chemical professionals who met with me in Denver
was a student who remembered I mentioned to her to come
and see me at the meeting and we can do some “faceting”
together.  What is faceting?  It is accompanying a mentor and seeing,
learning and then doing networking. It allows you to see another
dimension of a person that you know in a specific context.
So, a student from a class can join me at a meeting as we
engage in conversations in an exhibition hall.

When DM came, it was a great time for me.  I wanted to
attend an awards ceremony in a ‘close-by’ hotel but had been
heavily “booked” with clients all day.  It did not look like I
would be able to attend, since I wanted to congratulate several
of the award winners.  DM gave me the chance since she
signed up to meet with me.  So we walked over to the hotel
and went from floor to floor, and one big meeting space and
lounge to another.  As we went, I kept courteously asking for
directions.

As we walked (in comfortable shoes, I might add), we had a
continuing casual conversation.  Clearly, if there was a barrier
or shyness at the beginning, it was gone by the time we entered
the awards ceremony room.  We must have spoken to a dozen
people in the process of getting there.

We stood in the back of the room, having arrived 15 minutes late
and observed several presentations till the conclusion.  Then,
there was a professional reception.  We both diffused through
the receding audience looking for one person we both wanted
to congratulate.  In the process, I had the pleasure of greeting
several awardees.  Exactly what I wished.

Neither DM nor I found the person we were looking for.  So,
we politely asked an award winner if he was there.  In fact,
the professor knew him and was a professional competitor
of his (UCONN vs. UMASS).  He was not in attendance.
That is why we missed him.  We had a cordial conversation
and departed.

All was not lost, yet I felt we should facet a little more.  We
had explored an event at the national meeting and obtained
a result, but it was not as good as I hoped.

So we returned to the location of our meeting.  Right next
store in the meeting space was the exhibition area.  We could
do more faceting here as we engaged several exhibitors
learning about their products, meeting them and exchanging
business cards.  We enjoyed small snacks that are now
offered during exhibition afternoons.

Clearly, you have to be daring and be willing to go up to
people you do not know and start a conversation. 
You should also know that I intentionally facet with
colleagues to improve my networking, meet new people
and learn new skills.   I attendied several receptions I would
not normally join– a diversity reception, a grad student and
post-doc reception and the AEI where I must say I enjoyed
seeing people I knew and met a whole new group of people.

In fact, I have received four or five emails from people
I met this way since the meeting.

Want to improve your networking skills?  Review this
Caltech handout and ‘facet’ with someone.

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