+1 vote
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (130 points)
As a postdoc, I will be presenting a paper at an academic conference in a few months. I would like to use this conference to connect with other scholars in my subfield, but I am quite shy. None of my colleagues or former classmates are attending, so I cannot ask them to introduce me to others. Do you have any advice for the best ways to socialize and network in a conference setting?

Is it too forward to cold-email people on the conference schedule in advance who I have never met but share close research interests to plan to meet up at the conference? Or, is it better to approach them at the conference itself? What advice do you have about arranging dinner plans?
commented ago by (410 points)
Have you checked out the #EconTwitter hashtag on Twitter? When I was at the AEA conference in Jan., I used the conference hashtag along with #EconTwitter and ended up meeting a lot of people that way. I am also really shy.

You can also contact people ahead of time. Also, take advantage of cocktail hour (if there is one) the first night. You're sure to meet  people who are also there alone. Good luck!

1 Answer

+2 votes
answered ago by (180 points)
Cold emailing people is fine.
Do not expect everyone you email to reply you, but try to line up at least a few meetings over coffee breaks. It will make your trip much more worthwhile.

Take initiatives to organize dinner for people (if you aren't invited to any yet). That means you should look into where to eat and make a reservation.
 When you meet people over coffee breaks or in a session, you just ask them about their dinner plan and whether they would like to join you. Be flexible with your dinner plan will make it easier for you to invite people. There are many out there who do not have dinner plans. They will just follow you.