Diversity in Networks Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Business Networking Diversity

Business Networking Diversity

I believe that it is important to build a diverse network of professional contacts that include people with different interests and backgrounds.  The only thing that they should have in common with you is that they should be really good at what they do.  Create a personal network like that, and you’ll have a network that can help you succeed at anything.

It is human nature to build friendships with people that are like us.  The problem with surrounding ourselves with similar people is that they also tend to have similar contacts and know the same people as us.  When networking, it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business. In running a large business networking organization for over the past three decades, I often speak to people who tell me they want to network exclusively business professionals who have similar clients.  Although it is good to include these people in your personal network, networking with them exclusively would be a tremendous mistake. When it comes to business networking diversity, you never know who people know.  One of the important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity.

A diverse personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors or “linchpins” in your network.  Linchpins are people who in some way cross over between two or more clusters or groups of individuals; this allows them to link groups of people together easily.  The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to develop a diverse network. The strongest networking groups I have seen over the years are generally the groups that are diverse.  I believe that one of the problems in understanding this concept is a somewhat built-in bias that many people have about networking with individuals that are outside their normal frame of reference.  Let me share a story:

An incredible voice, an incredible connection from networking diversity.

Patti, a BNI Director, arrived a little early to a BNI meeting that met in a private meeting room and noticed an older gentleman setting up coffee mugs in preparation for the meeting.  She struck up a conversation with the man while waiting for the BNI members to arrive.  In talking to him, she was really taken by the amazing tenor of his voice.  She mentioned to him that he had an incredible voice and asked what he did before this.  The gentleman informed her that he used to be a commentator for CNN!  He went on to share with Patti that in his later years, he wanted to work in a less hectic job as well as live closer to his daughter.  He decided to take on the job of managing these private meeting rooms because it gave him an opportunity to be close to his family while having a less hectic career later in life.

Later during the meeting, one of the BNI members, Don, mentioned in his featured presentation that his goal is to host a radio talk show someday. He was looking for some contacts that could help him pursue this dream.  After the meeting, Patti asked Don… “Do you see that guy over there (pointing to the ex-CNN commentator)?  Have you seen him before?”  “Yea,” said Don, “he’s the guy who sets up the coffee for our meeting.”  Patti said to Don, “Did you know that he used to be a broadcaster for CNN?”  Don said, “I had no idea!!!”  Patti suggested that Don introduce himself. Don had seen the man on many occasions but had not struck up a conversation with him because he felt that they had little, if anything, in common.  The truth is when it comes to networking – not having a lot in common with someone may mean that they can be a connector for you to a whole world of people that you might not otherwise be able to meet. This resulted in creating an incredible connection for Don in the broadcasting industry. Don now hosts a local radio talk show.

Diversity in your network is the smart thing and the right thing to do.

develop a diverse network

Develop a Diverse Network

Diversity in your personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors or “linchpins” in your network. Linchpins are people who in some way crossover between two or more clusters or groups of individuals; this allows them to link groups of people together easily. The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to develop a diverse network – not a homogeneous one.

The truth is when it comes to networking – not having a lot in common with someone may mean that they can be a connector for you to a whole world of people that you might not otherwise be able to meet.

Networks are by nature “clumpy”

(that’s the technical term). It is human nature to congregate with people that are very much like us. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. When we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business.

If you wish to build a powerful personal network – branch out. Build a diverse network of professional contacts that include people that don’t look like you. Finds others who do not sound like you, speak like you, or have your background, education, or history. The only thing that they should have in common with you and the other people in your network – is that they should be really good at what they do. Create a personal network like that, and you’ll have a network that can help you succeed at anything.

Diversity

Diversity and Networking

Diversity in your personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors or “linchpins” in your network. Linchpins are people who in some way crossover between two or more clusters or groups of individuals; this allows them to link groups of people together easily. The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to develop a diverse network – not a homogeneous one.

The truth is when it comes to networking – not having a lot in common with someone may mean that they can be a connector for you to a whole world of people that you might not otherwise be able to meet.

Networks are by nature “clumpy”

(that’s the technical term). It is human nature to congregate with people that are very much like us. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. When we surround ourselves with people who have similar contacts it may be difficult to make connections with new people or companies with whom we desire to do business.

If you wish to build a powerful personal network – branch out. Build a diverse network of professional contacts that include people that don’t look like you. Finds others who do not sound like you, speak like you, or have your background, education, or history. The only thing that they should have in common with you and the other people in your network – is that they should be really good at what they do. Create a personal network like that, and you’ll have a network that can help you succeed at anything.

Which Is Better–Online Networking or In-Person Networking?

 

In this brief video, Roger Green and I talk about online networking versus in-person networking and also what I discovered when doing research for the book Business Networking and Sex in regard to how much time is necessary to invest in networking in order to get results.

When it comes to networking, there’s online networking and there’s face to face networking.  The simple fact is–it’s not “either/or” . . . it’s “both/and.”  Online networking doesn’t impact face-to-face networking in a negative way. It enhances it.

If you want to be successful in building your personal network, you need diversity in your networks. I highly suggest that people join a few different networks, rather than just sticking with one.

What in-person networks do you currently belong to?  Which online networks do you currently belong to?  In the comments section, please share which networks (both in-person and online) you belong to that you’ve had the most success with–perhaps someone else might read about your experiences and gain success with those networks as well.

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