ELLE (Canada) - - Career -

A study pub­lished in Ad­min­is­tra­tive Science Quar­terly in 2014 ex­plains what many have felt about net­work­ing but couldn’t quite ar­tic­u­late: It can make us feel phys­i­cally bring-on­the-soap-and-loofah dirty. Pro­fes­sors from Har­vard, North­west­ern and the Univer­sity of Toronto asked 306 adults to re­call a time when they net­worked with the goal of form­ing ei­ther one-sided pro­fes­sional con­tacts or per­sonal con­nec­tions. The par­tic­i­pants were then asked to com­plete words like W_ _H, S _ _ P and SH _ _ ER. Those who re­called tak­ing the more self­ish ap­proach were al­most twice as likely to fill in the puzzles with words like “wash,” “soap” and “shower” (rather than “wish,” “step” and “shaker”). How­ever, the same study also em­pha­sized that net­work­ing, de­spite its un­savouri­ness, does work. In a sep­a­rate experiment, the au­thors asked 165 lawyers how of­ten they net­worked and how it made them feel. Lawyers who net­worked more fre­quently re­ported more bil­l­able hours, and the higher up the lawyer was at the firm, the less likely it was that he or she felt dirty while net­work­ing. To re­duce the dirty feel­ing, the au­thors ad­vise at­tempt­ing to form per­sonal con­nec­tions that are mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial. The more you fo­cus on the skills you bring to the ta­ble and how they might help oth­ers, the more tol­er­a­ble net­work­ing will be­come. M.D. h

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