Tanya Menon: The secret to great opportunities? The person you haven't met yet
Tanya Menon speaks, writes and consults on collaboration. Her research focuses on how people think about their relationships and the habits that allow them to build positive connections with other people. Full bio
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my students years later.
a funny thing happens.
in the classroom they were sitting.
they were sitting with as well.
any special superpowers of memory.
favorite people in their favorite seats.
they stay with them for the whole year.
for my students is they're at risk
with just a few people
for an international, diverse network.
so that they can get great networks.
in our lives, in our school, in work,
brought a friend along for this talk?
at your friend a little bit.
there's nothing wrong with this.
around people who are similar.
we're on a precipice, right?
when we need new ideas,
when we need new resources --
for living in a clique.
had a famous paper
is he asked people
most people don't get their jobs
their mother, their significant other.
people who they just met.
the problem is with your strong ties,
significant other, for example.
people you just met today --
to a whole new social world.
ticket to travel our social worlds,
human beings so close to home,
a little bit more intentional
a more imperfect social search engine.
and filtering your friends.
I want to get a great opportunity."
are so fundamentally predictable."
is that you start at home,
the same staircase or elevator,
the same bathroom --
you're seeing exactly the same people.
slightly more inefficient.
network of people.
we are actually filtering.
we are looking at them, we meet them,
We can't even help it.
to do instead is to fight your filters.
around this room,
the least interesting person that you see,
over the next coffee break.
even further than that.
the most irritating person you see as well
is you are forcing yourself
you don't want to connect with,
but you know what I do?
in their favorite seats.
bumps in the network
to connect with each other.
of an intervention at Harvard University.
the rooming groups,
people are not choosing those roommates.
all different ethnicities.
with those roommates,
that initial discomfort.
commonalities with people.
"take someone out to coffee."
is you can't choose;
you're going to meet in that place.
the paradox is, interestingly enough,
on every single floor.
who would bump into each other
into each other anyway.
there was only one mail room,
from all over that building
in that social hub.
from your social habits?
of unpredictable diversity?
some wonderful examples.
pickup basketball games,
is when they go to a dog park.
than online dating when they're there.
I want you to think about
a little more inefficient,
a more imprecise social search engine.
to widen your travels,
a second-class ticket
when we reach out to people.
a very eventful year.
overseas and accept it,
what ended up happening was,
new identity as a mother.
of advice from people.
more than any other advice was,
is breaking down,
is to try and reach out
on a much larger scale.
and low socioeconomic status people,
in a baseline condition,
our lower socioeconomic status people,
were actually reaching out to more people.
in how they were networking.
to think about maybe losing a job.
people reached inwards.
people thought of more people,
to bounce back from that setback.
your dad and your dog.
we need our networks the most.
We're doing it to ourselves.
when we are being bullied,
don't see our resources.
we don't see our opportunities.
at your list of Facebook friends
of people who are there
automatically come to mind.
one of the things we did was,
research on self-affirmation:
and I were able to do is,
who had affirmed themselves first
be threatening to them.
you asked somebody for a favor.
at the language that you used.
represents a metaphor.
in a transactional way,
to us as human beings.
and reaching out to people
"you're welcome" in other languages.
translation of these words.
that helps us impose upon other people
or transactional about those words.
Robert Cialdini says
the transaction a little bit more.
do the same for me.'"
to not think in transactional ways,
to make it a little bit more invisible.
"You're welcome," means,
need to go through those formalities."
is "Come back to me."
eliminate the transaction
or "That's what friends are for."
you think about this ticket that you have
"Life is a journey." Right?
some leave at different stops,
it's a beautiful one.
a different metaphor.
being a passenger on that train,
through the social universe.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERTanya Menon - Organizational psychologist
Tanya Menon speaks, writes and consults on collaboration. Her research focuses on how people think about their relationships and the habits that allow them to build positive connections with other people.
Why you should listen
Tanya Menon is fascinated that in a time when we can instantaneously connect with nearly the whole world, we often instead filter our relationships even more narrowly. As such, we often get stuck in dead ends, missing out on new people, ideas and opportunities. Menon and her collaborators have studied the often mundane feelings and innocuous daily habits that cause people to remain in their social comfort zone and produce this polarization. And they have also explored ways that we can be more intentional about navigating the social world.
Menon is Associate Professor at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Her research has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and The Financial Times. She is Associate Editor at Management Science journal, an award-winning teacher, and she has done keynotes, consulting and training for organizations all over the world. Her book with Dr. Leigh Thompson, Stop Spending, Start Managing: Strategies to Transform Wasteful Habits (2016, Harvard Business Review Press) explores various social traps people face in business, and how to overcome them.
Menon earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Harvard University in 1995 and her Ph.D. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her goal as a researcher, educator, consultant and parent is to create new ways for people to connect with each other so that they can live richer and more creative lives. She hopes that her work will help people intentionally create new habits to live a wider life and also share them widely.
Tanya Menon | Speaker | TED.com