Leading a fulfilling and successful academic life is not only about writing papers and giving presentations. Since the academic world is also made up of “people,” socializing and networking thus play a crucial role in the making of a scholar. Despite its importance, this issue is seldom addressed, let alone explicitly taught, in the training of a researcher. Socializing and networking with others has become the deepest nightmare of many novice academics. In order to help people with this problem, in this talk, Professor Marc Anthony from the the Academic Writing Education Center at NTU suggests that learning to be a “schmoozer” is the key to success in socializing and provides a number of tactics and English expressions that can facilitate or improve your interaction with others at events like conferences.
What, you may ask, does being a schmoozer mean? According to Professor Anthony, to be a schmoozer, you need to be honest, positive, and considerate and to show sincere interest in your interlocutor. The current First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, is an excellent example of an adept schmoozer. By showing her attentiveness and involvement with a friendly smile, she can easily socialize and connect herself with an acquaintance. Because of her mastery of the art of schmooze, she could even become a close friend of the Queen’s within a short time and be warmly welcomed by Duke of Edinburgh when she visited the United Kingdom with her husband, President Obama.
In addition to being a schmoozer, there are some other tips on how to carry out a successful interaction. First, you have to be confident of yourself. Professor Anthony points out that oftentimes people fear becoming involved in socializing and networking in an unfamiliar environment because they have doubts about themselves. So, the first step is to find the uniqueness in you and be proud of it. The second thing is to figure out the networking style of you and your conversation partners (i.e. competitive, outgoing, amiable or analytical). Identifying the networking style of your interlocutor, you can and should adjust your own networking style to achieve better communication. If you would like to start and sustain a conversation with others at a social event, then you need to know how to break the ice and make small talk. Breaking the ice means that you start a conversation by chatting about things you and your interlocutor are experiencing at that moment. Small talk expands conversation into finding out what things you have in common with the other speaker to determine if there are any topics you both know about that can be talked about in greater depth., In this way, you can have a good time socializing with others while leaving them with a good first impression.
Socializing and networking at a conference may be intimidating for many people. Nevertheless, these activities are no less important than conducting research in building up your academic career. By adopting the strategies that Professor Anthony presents, you can effectively enhance your socializing skills and master the art of networking in the academic world.