Truong, M., Fast, N. J., & Kim, J. (2020). It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it: Conversational flow and networking success. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 158, 1-10.
Networking success, or the capacity to make new connections and develop relationships, is an increasingly important component of professional performance. Others’ perceptions of one’s networking skills shape success, but little is known about the factors that drive these perceptions. In the present research, we theorize that the ability to establish and maintain flow during conversations uniquely predicts individuals’ networking success above and beyond other factors, such as extraversion, attractiveness, or interestingness. Consistent with this idea, Study 1 showed that individuals’ ability to maintain conversational flow during live, synchronous conversations is positively associated with networking success during a speed-networking event, even after factoring in other potential predictors. In Study 2, participants reported on their existing networks, indicating that strong networkers are better at maintaining conversational flow than weak networkers. In Studies 3a-3b, we manipulated conversational flow and demonstrated that participants attribute stronger networking skills and are more eager to connect with a target who maintains high (versus low) levels of conversational flow.