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?