Learn to love networking

By Tiziana CasciaroFrancesca Gino, and Maryam Kouchaki via hbr.org/   Article

“‘I hate networking.’ We hear this all the time from executives, other professionals, and MBA students. They tell us that networking makes them feel uncomfortable and phony—even dirty. Although some people have a natural passion for it—namely, the extroverts who love and thrive on social interaction—many understandably see it as brown-nosing, exploitative, and inauthentic.

But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction. …

Most people have a dominant motivational focus—what psychologists refer to as either a ‘promotion’ or a ‘prevention’ mindset. Those in the former category think primarily about the growth, advancement, and accomplishments that networking can bring them, while those in the latter see it as something they are obligated to take part in for professional reasons. …

Thankfully, as Stanford University’s Carol Dweck has documented in her research, it’s possible to shift your mindset from prevention to promotion, so that you see networking as an opportunity for discovery and learning rather than a chore.

Consider a work-related social function you feel obliged to attend. You can tell yourself, ‘I hate these kinds of events. I’m going to have to put on a show and schmooze and pretend to like it.’ Or you can tell yourself, ‘Who knows—it could be interesting. Sometimes when you least expect it, you have a conversation that brings up new ideas and leads to new experiences and opportunities.'”

 

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