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The Genius of ‘Want to Grab Coffee?’

Psychology, advice, intelligence

In a few weeks, millions of college students will enter the real world with dreams of finding work that’s meaningful and challenging—and preferably lucrative enough to live roommate-free in a major city. As they embark on their job searches, recent graduates are frequently given the vague advice to “go out and network.”

But what exactly should this networking entail? What does one say to a perfect stranger whom one has cajoled into “grabbing coffee,” while also telepathically conveying one’s desire for a job?

Science has one piece of advice, which is this: Ask them for advice.

Far from inconveniencing or annoying the advice-giver, research shows that asking for advice appears to boost perceptions of intelligence.

The Harvard behavioral science professors Alison Wood Brooks and Francesca Gino and the Wharton business professor Maurice Schweitzer discovered this phenomenon through a series of experiments they conducted over the past few years.

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