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TED: Tanya Menon - The Secret to Great Opportunities? The Person You Haven’t Met Yet

Think for a moment about your best friends. Are they the same nationality as you? The same gender? The same ethnicity? Do they resemble you? Organizational psychologist Tanya Menon kicked off her TED Talk with questions such as these and entreated audience members to widen their social universes.

Menon referenced research by sociologist Mark Granovetter, who found that most people don’t secure job opportunities through strong ties - think mother, father, significant other. Instead, they find them through weak ties - acquaintances or people you met recently.

Weak ties - or new connections - are "your ticket to a whole new social world," says Menon, who encourages people to break their social habits by making life a little more inefficient and straying from their daily routines. She suggests visiting new social hubs including coffee shops - or even a mail room on a different floor of your office building.

Menon also suggests networking from a place of strength by affirming yourself with positive statements regularly - and to stray from thinking about interactions in a transactional way. (For example, instead of saying, "You’re welcome," try "It’s great to collaborate" or "That’s what friends are for").


Ken Robinson. Changing Education Paradigms