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It’s Not What You Know, But Who

Maybe you’d rather be attacked by a mob of angry squirrels than go to a networking event. Unlike the mob of squirrels, networking can be relatively painless if you go in with some goals in mind and a few questions prepared in your head in case there’s a lull. And, yes, I used to ditch cocktail parties and work-related social events because I feared the inevitable “standing in the corner, looking at my watch, while surveying the room” syndrome.

It’s only within the past couple of years that I realized the value of networking. For example, networking got me my last three jobs. Networking helped me find an amazingly bright and awesome mentor Nilofer Merchant. And, Nilofer introduced me Padmasree Warrior (Cisco’s brilliant CTO) at a networking reception. Once I had met Padmasree once, that gave me an easy way to ask her for an interview with her.

So the next time you find yourself thinking up excuses not to attend networking function or feigning illness to avoid a work-related gathering, just think that the professional connections you make now, you can later leverage, and that may lead to success down the line. Sometimes the old business adage is true: it’s not what you know, but who.

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