As a follow up to the last post on Do Conferences Build Community? I offer some advice for people to get connected to the community.
- Be Confident (And Smile!). It's absolutely important to give a positive first impression when introducing yourself to someone. Making eye contact, smiling, and speaking clearly go a long way toward making yourself an inviting person to have a conversation with. On other hand, one of the best ways to guarantee an awkward social experience is to act creepy; avoid that at all costs. And most importantly, meet as many people as you can!
- Great Researchers Are People Too! Sure, the person you're talking to could have a history of landmark publications dating back before you even know was NP-completeness was, but don't forget that everyone you're meeting is a human being (really). Be respectful of course, but remember that they're probably in a similar situation to you -- meeting new people during a coffee break!
- In the words of the immortal Fonz: Be Cool. One of the biggest turn-offs will be giving the impression that you want something from them. Go ahead and throw those types of ideas away immediately. If you're interested in the same things, conversation will flow naturally. Don't try to force anything; just let it happen.