Today, I (Rebecca from the steering committee), am working from Liverpool University in the public health and policy department, where my husband is employed. I’m hoping to talk to some of the group later on at a social event. For me, this is a chance to see where my husband works and to talk to some of his colleagues about health policy-making in the UK. It is also a great way to chat to people informally about their work, without that horrible word ‘networking’ hanging like a cloud over everyone.
I am not a fan of networking, I am a naturally shy and introverted person, who has to make a special effort to clamber out of my shell to talk to people. I do not even like the word really, because it doesn’t seem to convey the idea of a genuine interaction. Rather, it seems to post a picture in my mind of a cringe-worthy attempt to get noticed by an ‘important’ person that you want to work with. What do you all think? What are your experiences with networking? For instance, I’ve found that conferences can be a nightmare, because the networking events are formalised, adding pressure and expectation.
The Science in Policy group aims to create an informal setting for discussion between members of our department and the visitors we invite to be part of a group event. We encourage an exchange of ideas and perspectives, because we believe this to be important to broaden our outlook, particularly with respect to the role that science plays in society. We have a few ideas along these lines, such as a ‘Questions with the Speaker’ session with some of the Monday departmental speakers. This would be a half an hour slot over tea and cake to talk to the speaker about their work, their career and, if relevant, how their science feeds into policy-making. Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the blog if you have more ideas!!