The Science Writers' Handbook
An introvert's guide to conference cocktail parties  January 2013

January 2013  
An introvert's guide to conference cocktail parties
by Cameron Walker

a cartoon

Somehow, I talked our stalwart book editors, Tom Hayden (bio) and Michelle Nijhuis (bio), into letting me write a chapter for The Science Writers’ Handbook about networking (it’s called “Networking for the Nervous”). I’m probably one of the most reluctant networkers out there, but as I wrote it, I realize I do network (and if you’re equally introverted, you are probably already doing it, too!). I turned to my fellow SciLancers to get even more ideas for putting myself out there in a way that feels natural, not icky.

One of the places where networking skills have a chance to shine—or shrink—is at the cocktail parties at scientific conferences. I always get the feeling that everyone is getting their next fabulous feature idea over beers, while I can barely stumble to my hotel room after a day listening to talks and mixing it up in the press room. So I decided to make a little video to encourage myself and other introverted schmoozers out there. Put on your orange tutu and crank up the volume (if you like the tunes, check out Mighty Quinn‘s new single, Vacation). You can even have a science writer dance party in your office—just don’t lose your head.