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We are going to assume that #1: you agree that we could all benefit from expanding our networks, but #2: there’s a cultural treatment of networking as if it has a bad aftertaste. 🤢
There are some real challenges here:
How do you find people, or pick people to contact? Especially if you’re offering even a pipsqueak-sized platform or you’re inviting them into a space that will reflect on you or your brand?
How do we ask for people’s attention in respectful ways that leave puh-lennnnty of room for them to say no? 😣
Whaddya do if you can’t pay someone and you’re asking for their time and expertise?
And, omg, how do we tackle the gatekeeping aspect of all this!?!
Examine your own feelings about networking: How do you get info about people you don’t already know? What concrete steps can you take to build on that?
If you can’t get over the ick or tongue-tied part of networking, remember: humans evolved as a social species. Lean into the biology.
Be really up front (but not crass!) about whether you can pay people or not. And if you can, find other ways to provide value for them (exposure isn’t enough; you can die of exposure 🥶).
Remember that networks are relationships, not transactions (though Virginia thinks that relationships may feel like transactions). Investing in a relationship is a long-term commitment. (Bethann likes Inger Mewburn’s take on this.)
Expect people to say no to you and give yourself the grace to decline invitations, too.
Do your homework. For example, lots of tools exist for finding minoritized voices.
Listen to the full episode for all that ☝️, plus:
Rough scripts for framing invitations and referral requests
The rubric we used for setting up a recent panel on inclusive scicomm training
Taking the mentorship convo another step, to sponsorship
How to borrow a simple strategy Bethann’s used to start relationships that (over the long haul) grew into research projects, funded grant applications, and publications.
Thanks for listening! We’re on the front porch. Give us a holler when you go by. 👋