How to network if you're an art historian

October 25 2012

Image of How to network if you're an art historian

Picture: CAA

Ahead of its annual conference, the CAA (the main American umbrella body for art historians) has published some networking tips on their website. They include:

Look at your neighbor’s conference badge. The badges serve as an immediate form of identification for a person and can be a good way to gauge whether you want to introduce yourself and start a conversation. Don’t feel the least bit embarrassed to check out a badge before saying hello.

Plan your thirty-second elevator introduction. You’ll be meeting lots of new people during the four days of the conference. Be able to summarize who you are and what you do professionally in half a minute.

Bring plenty of business cards. If your institution doesn’t provide them for you, make your own using any word-processing software and perforated paper. Or use one of the many websites that offer design and printing. Check out and create your cards in a jiffy.

Be bold! Get to know people over coffee, lunch, and dinner. Don’t be too shy to ask “where are you going for lunch?” if you’re in a conversation and it’s about that time of day. Also, identify people during the day who are interesting and offer to make plans for later, whether that’s meeting for dinner or exploring the city. Have a few specific ideas in mind (restaurants, gallery openings, music or theater performances). Remember, the rules are different at large conferences where many people are strangers.

I can't think of anything to say that doesn't make me sound like a pompous Brit. Except, I love the first one, which presumably means it's also ok to look closely at someone's badge, and then decide not to have a conversation with them.

Update - or as a reader writes:

"Don’t feel the least bit embarrassed to check out a badge before moving onto someone important".

And another reader adds:

Why don't they just put the '30 second elevator introduction' onto the badge. Would save time. 

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