Meeting etiquette #1

Just a few short points. You guys probably have some others.

1.  Be social, no matter how hard it is for you- give it a shot, that is what meetings are for- and it gets the networking thing going.

2.  When you walk up to someone you know and they are standing with someone else and chatting- don’t just barge right into the conversation and completely interrupt the person who is speaking.

3.  When you walk up to someone you know, and they are standing with someone else and chatting, address both people- even if you don’t know one of them- stick out your hand and introduce yourself. You might make a new friend!

4.  If you are a speaker- giving a presentation in front of your special subgroup of 200 … don’t forget to cite important people and their contributions to your project and techniques pioneered by others. This is just bad form. You either look like you don’t know the literature, or you look like a jerk for not citing someone who is probably in the audience.

5. Oh, and if you see me at a meeting and you read my blog- I think that’s excellent- but only tell me about it privately, K? Assume that I’ve got a pseudonym for a reason…

You guys- pile on, I’m sure you have some others to add!

p.s. I something no self-respecting French person would do today- I ate a meal walking down the street. I’m supposed to be enjoying the civilized ways of the French- …. hopefully I’ll figure this out.


20 thoughts on “Meeting etiquette #1

  1. drDrA,
    Sounds like you are having fun at the meeting. Is everyone behaving like they should ?I do have another one to add, As a well established PI be nice to Graduate students or junior Post-doc, some of those people had to work up all there nerves to talk to you, so show some patience.
    have a fun meeting, and have some great french food.

  2. while someone is giving their talk, don’t sit at the table with your buddies shooting the shit and carrying on like circus clowns. That is just rude.

    get off the damn stage when your time is up. the next person has a time slot, and hogging the podium… is just rude.

    don’t stand at a poster foooorrreeevvvvveeeerrrrr chatting about your personal pet project or whatever floats your boat to the poster presenter. move along little doggie. there are other people who want to discuss the poster with the presenter, and if you are standing in front of it yipping away and blocking other people from reading it, that is just rude.

  3. Oh I don’t think I remember to do any of those points. Doing presentations at university I had a slight problem with anxiety attacks so started off talking normally then as I began to panic got faster and faster whilst forgetting to mention anything important.

  4. crispytacoDoc- I’m exceedingly patient with students and postdocs!! Promise. Thanks for calling me on the rug and issuing me a reminder.

    Seriously though- meetings are a difficult time for many many scientists- we aren’t, as a group, the most socially gifted profession. This means that we have to be aware how we present ourselves- and having a few basic rules about social interaction make dealing with this situation that is generally uncomfortable to people, I hope will make it a little more straight forward.

  5. I love these! Esp number 5. I have trouble with number 5 even normally, let alone at meetings.

    Here’s one: if you are at a meeting, and you see a well dressed person of the sex you are attracted to walking in the area, please forebear to whistle at them. They might be a grad student in your field, attending the conference, and running into them at their poster and realizing that you whistled at them a few hours before…is very awkward for you. Though VERY hilarious for me.

  6. Scicurious- I’d like to keep whatever thinly veiled pseudonymity I have left- just a while longer.. I love your point though- whistling huh? I don’t think I’ve ever had that one happen!

  7. we aren’t, as a group, the most socially gifted profession.

    That is a pernicious and inaccurate stereotype. Scientists are no less socially gifted in the aggregate than any other profession, and are more socially gifted than some.

  8. #s 2 and 3 are good advice for ANY social situation, not just science-related.

    One to add: if you’re standing around talking to your friend and someone else barges in and starts up with your friend without acknowledging you (as in #3), introduce yourself, because it’s possible/likely your friend doesn’t remember the new person’s name.

    Also, the art of the name-tag glance when you don’t remember someone’s name is something that must be done with subtlety and skill. Practice with your friends before you leave for the meeting.

  9. “Also, the art of the name-tag glance when you don’t remember someone’s name is something that must be done with subtlety and skill. Practice with your friends before you leave for the meeting.”

    Actually, as much as corporate types are overly stuffy about etiquette, I think the idea of using the clips/pins on name tags to position them near the right shoulder is pretty smart. Particularly for ladies who would rather not have strange men staring intently at their chests.

  10. C PP- In your subfield, maybe.

    Dr. Becca- Part of my point is that if you remember a few basic social rules of engagement they can take you a long way in any situation- a scientific meeting is no different.

  11. C PP- In your subfield, maybe.

    Your lazy stereotyping of the entire profession is totally justified, and I’m the one who doesn’t know what I’m talking about because my subfield is an outlier? For realz?

  12. C PP- Oh pipe down. Yikes. I should have said- In my experience the group that I circulate in is not…. bla bla bla. But now you have me curious about whether any social scientists have looked …

  13. drdrA, I was actually referring to MY pseudonymity, not yours. I’ve got a couple of people who know, and they’re…not very good at keeping quiet. 🙂

  14. I totally agree with you DrdrA re social ineptness. Sure, there is the odd exception in my field, but not many. . .
    Maybe we feel this more if we belong to an under-represented group. I feel culturally marginalised within our current university department/structure and estimate less than 5% of my colleagues have any cultural skills.

  15. I was thinking of this at my recent meeting.

    I made it a point to always introduce people…not that I didn’t do it before…but I just wanted to make sure.

    My favorite moment…I was talking with somebody…not great friends, but we are kind of at a similar level in our career and we work in the same field…so we like to catch up and complain about the same things.

    Some guy literally walks in between us, his back facing me, gives her a hug and proceeds to talk to her for 3 minutes. At no point did he even look back. Then as abruptly as he walked up, he ran off. I couldn’t see who he even was, but saw him later at a poster. Stay Classy Old Guy! 🙂

  16. Pinus- Hahahahahahaha. As Physioprof would say. See, it happens to all of us!! I was actually thinking about this very scenario this morning in the car on the way to work wondering how rare it is- reminds me of that scene from the movie ‘Get Shorty’ – you know the one I’m talking about? Where Chili Palmer and Rene Russo’s character go over to see Danny Devito’s character, and they meet the girlfriend in the front yard… just watch the movie!!

    I had an odd one recently where someone walked up to me- someone I know but haven’t seen in forever- and that person said ‘hey I loved your talk/manuscript/insert your favorite professional activity here’, and walked off. No Hi, nice to see you, how you doing… BTW loved your WHATEVER. No- gotta go, see you later.. bla bla bla . I was just standing there rather dumbfounded.

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