Career advice | Networking | Employment
Adam Grant AUG. 24, 2017
Not long ago, after interviewing a venture capitalist onstage, I announced to the audience that we would take questions but no pitches. The first person at the microphone asked the investor to fund his start-up. I cringed as the second person started to pitch, too. Our educational event had quickly turned into a bad episode of “Shark Tank.”
The following week, at a similar event, I saw a student ask a C.E.O. for her personal email address in front of the crowd. I’ve been stunned by the lengths people will go to at tech and business conferences to make a connection with a big name: sneaking backstage for a selfie, slipping business cards into briefcases, chasing them out the exit.
If the very thought of networking makes you throw up in your mouth, you’re not alone. Networking makes us feel dirty — to the point that one study found that people rate soap and toothpaste 19 percent more positively after imagining themselves angling to make professional contacts at a cocktail party. Just reading that research made me want to take a shower.
Yet we’ve all been warned that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Success is supposed to come to the suave schmoozers and social butterflies.
It’s true that networking can help you accomplish great things. But this obscures the opposite truth: Accomplishing great things helps you develop a network. Read more…