Tips and Tricks for Networking in Person at the 2022 SOT Annual Meeting

By Jaclynn Meshanni posted 03-03-2022 14:23


This blog was crafted by the Communications Subcommittee of the Graduate Student Leadership Committee.

Networking at conferences is an essential part of scientific collaboration, career building, and job seeking. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the realities of networking and communicating have changed drastically. Here, we have included tips and information on how to network at the upcoming SOT Annual Meeting to make the most of your SOT networking experience!

In-Person SOT Networking Tips

  • Come prepared.
    • Before traveling to SOT, prepare extra copies of your resume or business card to hand out during your conversations and events. We recommend including links to your LinkedIn! This is a great way to leave an impression and provides an avenue for future communication.
    • Use the SOT Online Planner to plan your days. Knowing your schedule will make it easier to meet up with people, prepare conversation topics, and display your organization and enthusiasm for the meeting.
  • Practice your poster presentation.
    • Poster presentations are a great place for networking. You have the opportunity to showcase you work and knowledge to interested parties. Make sure to practice your poster presentation; be prepared with both a 30-second elevator pitch and a five-minute conversation. Here is a great article on how to prepare!
  • Join networking events.
    • Many Specialty Sections and Special Interest Groups offer mentoring events during the SOT Annual Meeting. This is a great opportunity to meet professionals in specific fields that are actively looking to mentor and network with students. A few events are listed in this blog, but be sure to check out the SOT Annual Meeting program (using the Online Planner or the SOT Event App) for more events! You can easily search by typing “mentoring” into the search bar.
      • Biotechnology, Mechanisms, Molecular and Systems Biology Joint Specialty Section Mentoring Event, Wednesday, March 30, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm. Visit the Mechanisms Specialty Section website for more information. Sign-up is required.
      • Comparative Toxicology, Pathology, and Veterinary Specialty Section (CTPVSS) and STP Mentoring Event, Wednesday, March 30, 5:00 pm–6:30 pm. CTPVSS is hosting a mentoring event at Gas Lamp Fish House (411 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101).
      • GSLC-sponsored Chat with an Expert. You can identify three experts that you are interested in meeting. Visit the website for more information.
      • SOT Mentoring Breakfast, Monday, March 27, 6:15 am–7:45 am. Registration is required through the SOT Annual Meeting registration.
  • Get out of your comfort zone!
    • One of the hardest parts about networking in person (especially after two years of limited social interactions) is being comfortable with starting conversations. Does a professional’s career interest you? Ask them about it! Another student is presenting a poster on something you are interested in? Approach them! Push yourself to start the conversations and attend the events that interest you. You get the most out of networking when you actively pursue it. Here are some tricks and tips on how to start professional conversations.
  • Utilize LinkedIn.
    • Connect with professionals on LinkedIn. People giving poster presentations or talks or engaging you through questions/comments may be people you are interested in talking to. Follow up with them on LinkedIn by connecting with them! You can follow up by requesting a connection or messaging them directly (be sure to include the context of how you met them).
    • Share your attendance on your personal LinkedIn profile! This is a great way to let people know you are attending and can provide an avenue to connect with other conference-goers.

Overall, networking is an essential aspect of scientific communication and career growth. Remember to be organized, participate, and be yourself!