Tagged / networking

Get your own business cards!

Last month I attended the GrantCraft: Research Workshop Day that Corrina arranged and which many of you attended. The session, facilitated by Dr Martin Pickard, was a huge success and we will definitely be inviting Martin back to run a similar workshop at BU again.

During the ‘Impact and Benefits’ session the importance of business cards in establishing academic networks was discussed, and I was surprised to note that less than 10% of the audience already have cards.

The Vitae website notes that business cards are essential in establishing academic networks, and that networks enable researchers to:

  • create a professional image
  • exchange information and keep up-to-date with new developments
  • identify potential areas for collaboration
  • establish disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional and cross-sector groups
  • get published

With this is mind the Research Development Unit has funding available to purchase some business cards for academics who need them. If you’d like some business cards then let us know and we’ll see what we can do! Email us at researchunit@bournemouth.ac.uk

Out and About…

Prof Alan Fyall, Deputy Dean (Research and Enterprise) in the School of Tourism, reflects on how unstructured networking can benefit academic careers…

Continuing the theme of “talking to strangers”, first raised in the post by Dr Julie Robson on 10 May (Talk to Strangers), I remain a strong advocate of simply getting out and about so you are in a position to actually meet strangers in the first place. Julie is right in referring to networking as deliberate and planned and is right to suggest that clear objectives need to be set at the outset and then followed up. At an early stage of your career, however, I am a strong advocate of simply getting out, be it in the real or virtual world (http://www.academia.edu/ is a good place to start),  as unless “out there” you will never meet strangers and never migrate to networking.

To this day, I remain the very best of friends with colleagues from Edinburgh Napier and Aberystwyth universities having first met them at a late-night encounter at a conference dinner in Newcastle in the mid 1990s. Since then, we have written numerous papers and published four books together while we are currently in the process of writing some new material for the forthcoming REF. One of the books authored is on the theme of Collaboration which quite simply relates to autonomous organisations working together to meet a common goal. All the processes, structures of governance and detailed plans developed to achieve these common goals are virtually guaranteed to fail unless those collaborating get on personally ….. a little like the current coalition government but the less said about them the better!

It is too easy to remain in our offices and too complacent of us to accept that opportunities will simply appear be it to write a paper or be part of an application for a research grant. My advice is to escape the office on a regular basis, mingle with staff either in your own School or beyond, enjoy a chat over coffee or even register for that workshop, conference or event that you keep telling yourself you are too busy to attend. Getting out and about and communicating with your colleagues either at BU or further afield can lead to new friendships and hopefully a co-authored paper or two, a  joint research seminar or if you are really lucky a grant application. One of my best “chance encounters” occurred on a work trip to Malaysia back in 2007 when I shared a taxi from the airport in Kuala Lumpur to the centre of the city with the former Director of Tourism for Antigua & Barbuda. In the space of 40 minutes we discussed the state of tourism in the Caribbean and sketched out a PhD proposal while at the same time agonising over which schools to send our respective children. To this day my “KL Taxi” acquaintance remains a good friend and in her new position in the Caribbean is no longer a “stranger” but someone who is a strong advocate of BU, an employer of our students, a conduit to professional international networks and …… a potential co-author and PhD candidate when the pressure of work subsides!

Professor Alan Fyall

Deputy Dean Research & Enterprise

School of Tourism

Talk to strangers…

Dr Julie Robson, Director of Enterprise in the Business School, reflects on the benefits of talking to strangers…

The ‘top ten tips to ..’ lists seem to be everywhere these days.  Tops ten tips to live longer, be happier, healthier and to find your ideal partner. One list that I came across recently in the business section of one of the Sunday newspapers promised to provide the reader with ten ways to be successful at work. Most of us have seen these lists before and to be honest the advice, although perhaps sound, was somewhat predictable:  i.e., deliver solutions rather than problems, be positive at work, be prepared to go the extra mile, etc.  The one tip that did stand out from the rest invited the reader to talk to strangers. This one probably stood out most as from a young age it’s the very thing we are advised against. Strangers are after all dangerous aren’t they? The rationale for talking to strangers was simply the more people you talk to the more you widen your list of contacts and knowledge of others and how they see the world.  Whilst I’m not necessarily advocating that we all go out and talk to strangers, in many ways talking to strangers is really just networking, albeit networking is more structured in terms of planning ahead, having a clear objective and following up afterwards.

networkingCould good networking then be the secret to being a successful academic? On reflection it’s a good way to identify new ideas, new ways to transfer knowledge to a wider audience and new partners for bids  Maybe talking to strangers, or at least new people, is good advice after all.

Dr Julie Robson

Director of Enterprise and Acting Head of Marketing

The Business School

For further information on successful networking see these two articles:
How to develop successful networking skills in academia
How to create an academic network