Imagine a post-pandemic world where we can travel. You’re invited to give a talk at a university. You would present your research in front of room of faculty and grad students, have numerous one-on-one meetings, and go to lunch or dinner with some folks. Why should you go?
As the presenter, what are the goals of invited talks? How should I understand my objectives during these visits?
I’ve heard the saying that “Every talk is a job talk.” So I would treat these visits with a degree of seriousness and focus as if these folks were considering hiring me. But aside from that high bar for seriousness, what other reasons/attitudes do people approach invited talks with?
I see some possible reasons: Stay current on what people in my field are working on. Increase the visibility and impact of my research. Cultivate relationships with potential tenure letter writers. Brainstorm around potential research collaborations. What else? Why should one travel around to give talks at universities?
I’m a junior faculty member in the social sciences, and I recognize that some specifics vary by field and career stage, but I’m sure some lessons are broadly applicable.