By Aditi Sodhi '16
I absolutely killed it at networking. I don’t mean to brag, but I was poetry in motion. I owe my spectacular success to certain guiding principles that I followed religiously during the process. If you adopt them as your own, I guarantee networking will no longer be the soul-sucking, ego-crushing experience we all dread. Pencils out people:
- Presume the person you are speaking to is brain-dead and drop the word “leader” in every possible context and connotation: “I came here as a leader...”, “Being a leader...”, “I will leader the sh*t out of you. . . ”. Henceforth, when they hear the word “leader”, they will remember the creep that stalked them all over a party once. And that creep is. . .you. Score!
- “I am woman, hear me roar,” is well and good, ladies, but when Sheryl Sandberg (whose book I totally read) told us to lean in, I believe she was asking us to leverage the one networking tool that men do not have but we do: Bewbs! So, remember ladies: stomach in, chest out, and GO!
- Corporate networking works very much like dating. You have to start out charming and funny, subtly highlighting your accomplishments (good communicator, team player, champion douchebag), move on to future goals (Manager, Leader (naturally), Olympic level ass-kisser) and then, if all else fails, get them drunk.
- If you’re a short man or an ugly woman, you should spare everyone the embarrassment of attempting this competitive sport and remain near the chips and dip table.
- If you haven’t used the phrase “data point” at least once in a two-minute conversation, you’re an amateur and will be spit on.
- The most important element of successful networking -- the liberal use of jargon. It demonstrates that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about but have mastered the art of pretending you do (a.k.a. management consulting). “Market-facing, financial slack, transitioning, operational efficiency, touch base,” are all beautiful phrases that mean absolutely nothing and should flow from your tongue as naturally as, “get me a double scotch on the rocks”.
I could actually use that drink right about now because, if you’ve stayed with me so far, you may have inferred that I emerged from networking a broken woman. Those of you smart enough to have arrived sponsored or who had that silly, insignificant quality called self-respect, and hence, missed out on the poo-fest that is corporate networking - heave a sigh of relief. But those of you still in the trenches with me - I’ll see you by the chips and dip.
The author is currently working on piecing together another essential guide to networking and the fragments of her self-esteem.