diversity Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Intentional About Diversity

Being Intentional About Diversity

Being Intentional About Diversity was written with my co-author of Networking Like a ProBrian Hilliard.

With everything going on in the world today, we thought it would be a good time to take a step back and talk about diversity, and more specifically, about diversifying your business network. Developing a truly diverse network is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Because let’s be honest, different people bring different things to the table in terms of who they know and how they might be able to refer or otherwise assist your business.

As we said in our book, Networking Like a Pro, networks are by nature, clumpy. Human beings have a tendency to congregate and surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. . . whether by race, gender, religion, or professional status. Unfortunately, this approach to networking has unintended consequence – namely, that we tend to form clusters. This is why it is so incredibly important to be intentional about the way we develop our personal network. A diverse personal network enables you to increase the possibility of including connectors to your network. These are people who cross over in some way between two or more groups of people. The best way to increase the number of possible connections in your network is to intentionally develop a diverse, heterogeneous network that has connections to other clusters of people.

If you go with the premise that relationships are the currency of today’s modern business person, then it stands to reason that having an ethnically diverse business network – comprised of people who look different than you – actually is the next logical step when it comes to building a thriving referral-based business.

But for a lot of people, especially those in the majority, the question becomes how.

In other words, how as a white businessman (or woman), can I diversify my network and get to know more business people in the African American, Asian or Latino communities?

That’s a great question and one that, at first glance, can seem daunting to say the least.

But as with most seemingly complicated questions, the answer is quite simple: Be more intentional about it.

In other words, as a member of any ethnic group, the tendency is to spend time around more people like yourself. So whatever ethnicity I am, I’m more likely to have friends and business contacts of that ethnicity. And while that’s understandable, we feel that entrepreneurs who diversify their networks – based on ethnicity, gender and a host of other factors – are actually better positioned to be more successful.

As a matter of fact, McKinsey & Company did a report in 2015 (“Diversity Matters”) which determined that companies having a high racial and ethnic diversity are actually 35% more likely to perform above their industry’s national median return.

So the question becomes what can we do to branch out and overcome the gravitational pull we all feel towards spending time around people who look like us? How can we, instead, become more intentional in our actions when it comes to actually meeting and engaging others in different communities?

Another great question…and we have some thoughts.

1. Recognize that diversity is a process, not a program. In other words, diversifying your network has to be something you want to do and commit to doing on a daily basis. It needs to become part of your core beliefs that you’re going to be intentional about meeting and engaging people who don’t look like you. Anything less than that is almost guaranteed to eventually fail.

2. Look at your phone and business contacts on social media. Do they all “look” the same in terms of ethnicity, age, education and gender? If so, then keep reading because you might have some work to do. As we said above, diversity is a process, not just a program. This has to be an ongoing process.

3. Consider volunteering for certain organizations which put you into contact with people who are different than you. This could be as simple as volunteering as a coach for a local sports team, scheduling some time to visit an inner city school during “career day,” or sitting on a local community service board. Just take it upon yourself to broaden the scope of contacts you have with various ethnicities.

4. Make it a point to talk to people who don’t look like you. This is one that I (Brian) personally started doing 2 years ago, and I love it! So as a black man in his 40’s who grew up in the North but lives in the South, I take it upon myself to talk to ANY white person who may or may not have the same education as me, or who may or may not be in the same physical shape as me, or who may or may not be originally from the North like me. And it’s not a question of patronizing people or anything like that…I just make it a point while passing them at the grocery store, walking to my car in the parking lot, picking up some Chinese food to say “Hey, how’s it going?” And depending on the situation, sometimes that leads to more conversation, sometimes it doesn’t. But it gets everyone out of their comfort zone for a bit engaging new folks.

5. Invite different people of different ethnicities to your networking group. If you’re in a local Chamber of Commerce or a BNI Chapter, this is a perfect opportunity for you to engage others and invite them to your group. For example, maybe you’re out networking and you see a person of color and you decide to implement Point #4 from above. Ok, then during that conversation, you let them know about your group and see if they’d like to attend. And that’s it. Super easy to do, and it is very intentional.

6. Make this a top down initiative wherever you are in the organization. For those of you who have employees in your business, this point is crucial. If you want to have diversity in your organization and be more successful as a business because of it, then you absolutely must take the lead and make diversity a “thing.” Which means it is something that people value, something that people do, and something that you, as the leader, set as an example on a regular basis for them to emulate.

7. Hard-code diversity into the fabric of your business. Similar to the previous leadership point, if you’re going to be serious about diversity in your business, we recommend you seriously consider making it one of the core values of your company. Put it in your public material, address it when talking to your team/employees, and make it a part of the DNA of the organizational culture so people are crystal clear how you feel about it and how it plays out in your company.

It is important to note that there is a subtle but crucial difference between inclusivity and diversity. You may have an organization where the members feel like it is very inclusive, but when you look at it from the outside, does it truly look diverse? If not, you need to be more intentional about being inclusive to create diversity. Diversity is a fact; inclusiveness is a choice. Intentionally acting in an inclusive manner is what creates diversity.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not there yet…maybe you haven’t done these things as well as you could have. But today is the day to start. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

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.

Murali Srinivasan

The Language of Referrals – by Murali Srinivasan

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Murali Srinivasan

National Director – BNI India

It is so appropriate that the topic for this year’s International Networking Week is – Diversity.

Coming from India which is a country so diverse with so many different cultures, customs, habits and definitely different kinds of people, I have watched BNI and networking play a significant role in bringing them together to speak one language – the language of Referrals!!

It has been fascinating seeing business owners come together to understand each other’s business and work together to help each other grow.

At many meetings and networking events I have attended, I have seen the magic work. I start talking to another person first in their language to ask them what they do and try to understand their business. Once I show interest in their work the initial hesitation disappears and soon we find that we are setting up a meeting or connecting them to someone across the country.

Asheesh Chaddha

With the Indian economy doing well it is quite common to see startups who have relocated to a totally new city not knowing the local language or people, with the hope of making it big in business. Joining a local BNI Chapter is probably the best decision they make. They are surrounded by friendly people who are eager to help them succeed. I remember a Member in a Chapter in Mysore, Asheesh Chaddha, who is the business of Car Detailing. He relocated to Mysore to start his business. After joining a BNI Chapter, there now has his stores in over 20 locations across the state. He was a good networker who was good at listening to what others have to say and trying to help them whenever he could. His fellow Members were very supportive to help him grow and he went on the become President of the Chapter!!

The secret is all this to be able to network effectively with different kinds of people. We usually tend to talk to people who are like ourselves and we feel comfortable with. It is important that we learn how to get out of our comfort zone and network with other too. The results can be very effective

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2018!!

Murali Srinivasan National Director – BNI India

The Angle Of Industry – by YP Lai

International Networking Week: “Diversity in Networking” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by YP Lai

National Director, BNI Thailand, BNI Vietnam & BNI Philippines

 

I have always looked forward to the International Networking Week. It is an opportunity to bring people from different organizations, different sectors and different interests together. Some of the friendships and businesses that has developed from the International Networking Week activities has been simply amazing. Great things happen when positive minded people network together!

 

This year, the theme for the 2018 International Networking Week is “Diversity”. Diversity could be seen from many different angles, ethnicity, professions, geographical locations, age groups, and so on. I want to explore Diversity from the angle of industry – the industry in which your profession belongs to. For example, a caterer would belong to the events industry, an architect to the building industry and a graphic designer would belong to the public relation and marketing industry.

 

Studies have shown that most business professionals have a tendency to network with people within their industry and in specific geographical regions. When I reflected on my previous career, it was so true! As the General Manager of a property development company, my network consists of architects, engineers, builders, contractors, surveyors and building material suppliers. I had very few contacts outside the construction industry, and outside of my hometown in Penang.

 

When I joined BNI, and that was a good 16+ years ago, it was a real eye opener. I was then exposed to people from many different industries. There were people from the Financial Services, Business Support, IT and Technology, Health and Wellness, Food and Beverage, Event Managers, Legal and Professional Services, Manufacturing and Industries, Beauty and many others. Suddenly everyone had the opportunity to bring their business into sectors that they had previously not thought of.

 

One of the best success stories is Wayne the Optometrist.

 

The typical modus operandi of an Optometrist is to open an outlet in a shopping mall, and then attract walk-in customers.  They would use pull up banners advertising special promotions, give out flyers in the mall and use social media marketing to attract more customers. Every day the Optometrist will pray for more walk-ins. Wayne was no different until he joined a BNI Group. He then worked closely with William the cleaner. Now, William is not the typical residential or office cleaner. Instead, he specializes in cleaning factories and has good relationships with many of the factory managers in the industrial zone.

 

William helped Wayne to connect with the Human Resource manager of the factories, and arranged for free eye tests for the factory operators. Wayne and his team will then set up station at the factory canteen for a week, screening through thousands of factory operators, and immediately giving out prescriptions for spectacles for those needing corrective eyewear. And as you can guess, Wayne created special heavily discounted eyewear packages for the factory operators, and almost everyone who needed spectacles chose from those packages. Two weeks later, Wayne was back at the factory dispensing the spectacles. It was “Diversity”, the ability to tap into other industries that had allowed Wayne to work outside the traditional “wait and pray for customers” model to actively pursue new customers right at the factories themselves.

 

Wayne’s success stories had inspired many of his BNI group members to go outside their traditional marketing channel and get customers from other non-typical industries. Like the tailor who worked with the member representing college student recruitment, and secured a contract to provide inexpensive suits for students for their internship programme.

 

So, this year, at the International Networking Week event, we will be bringing business professionals from different industries, and from different regions. At the same time, having a balanced representation of various age groups, gender, and interests. By bringing such diversity to the International Networking Week, we believe that every participant will be enriched by the new relationships formed.

 

Wishing everyone a successful International Networking Week!

 

YP Lai

National Director, BNI Thailand, BNI Vietnam & BNI Philippines

International Networking Week 2017

2018 International Networking Week®

Welcome to the 2018 International Networking Week®

The 2018 International Networking Week® is an initiative of BNI®.

International Networking Week 2018 features a number of networking events occurring the week of February 5 through 9, 2018 worldwide! #BNIINW18

Welcome to the 11th annual International Networking Week®

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, 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. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events are being held globally this week to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information about networking events in your local community please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from either the Google play store or the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP.

International Networking Week 2018

International Networking Week 2018®

International Networking Week 2018® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2018 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2018 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Are you prepared to build a powerful personal network by inviting a diverse group people to your networking meeting from February 5 through 9, 2018? Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW18

Are you planning on participating in International Networking Week®

Join us for the 11th Annual International Networking Week® on February 5-9, 2018

This Year’s International Networking Week Theme: DIVERSITY!

Networks are by nature “clumpy”. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us—but that’s not the most powerful kind of network. People tend to cluster together based on education, age, ethnicity, professional status, etc. Therefore, 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. The more diverse your network, the more powerful it is. It’s the people who are not like you who can connect you to a completely new “cluster.”

One of the most important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. A diverse personal network enables you to have people in your circle as connectors to other people in communities where you may lack contacts.

Please watch this video to learn more…

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Simultaneous events will be held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. For more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you! The map can be downloaded from the Google play store. However, the app will soon available in the Apple Store for iPhones. GET THE MOBILE APP on Android or Sign up for the soon-to-be-released Apple version

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.

3 Tips for Putting the Butterfly Effect of Networking in Motion

IvanRichardBethSome years back, I posted a blog detailing how my introduction to Richard Branson was completely the result of the Butterfly Effect of Networking.  In thinking about that blog post, it occurred to me that an important part of the reason I was able to make such effective and rewarding networking connections was the way that I thought about, and therefore went about networking. Here’s what I mean by that . . .

While it’s important to know the right things to do while networking, it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts as successful and dynamic as they can be. This involves altering your mind-set. Here is an up-close look at some elements you’ll want to include in your mind-set to ensure networking success:

  1. The law of reciprocity or Givers Gain® approach.

Don’t approach networking thinking ‘I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me?’ Instead, remember the old adage Give and you shall receive? The law of reciprocity takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.

  1. Diversity in networking.

Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referrals.

  1. Farming mentality.

It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops and there’s no quick return. But, when you spend time and take care in building relationships, your networking will yield extraordinary results.

Approaching networking with a mentality that focuses on the process of cultivating referrals will create the results you desire. Make an effort to spend more time strengthening your friendships with those whom you wish to have as part of your networking circle and you will certainly make more and better connections.

Do you have any tips for developing a networking-friendly mindset which positions you for success?  I’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts, comments, and ideas in the forum below.  Thanks!

Networking: Men, Women, and Diversity

Charlie&Ivan-MvWIN

 

In this video (click on the graphic above to access the video), I speak with Charlie Lawson, networking expert and National Director of BNI® UK & Ireland, to unfold the differences between men and women in networking.  While men tend to be more transactional in the way they network, women are more relational and understanding these differences can really be an advantage when it comes to achieving success from your networking efforts.

During a survey of 12,000 people, it was found that those who are more relational gain more business and are overall more proficient networkers.  However, just because women are more likely to generate new business through referrals, this doesn’t mean that only they should have a place in networking groups.  In order to have the most successful networking group possible, there needs to be a great amount of diversity.  It’s ideal to have a blend of different people because that diversity is an important aspect of successful networking.

The more diverse a group is, the more connected it becomes.  When networking groups become more connected, deeper relationships are formed, ultimately leading to more referrals and greater success.

Do you or your networking group have any good tactics for seeking out a diverse array of professionals with whom to network?   If so, please share them in the comment forum below.  If not, make it your goal this week to come up with some ways to do so–you have nothing to lose and a whole lot of untapped potential for new referrals to gain! 

Diversity and Networking

When it comes to business networking, you never know who people know.  One of the important keys to being successful at building a powerful personal network is diversity. 

In running a large business networking organization for the last two 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.

It is human nature to congregate with people that are very much like us.  People tend to cluster together based on education, age, race, professional status, etc… The problem with this is that 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.

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 – not a homogeneous one.

Having developed thousands of networking groups in dozens of countries around the world, I can categorically state that the strongest networking groups I’ve seen are generally ones that are diverse in many, many ways.  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 give you an example.  A good friend of mine in Boston, Patti Salvucci, recently told me an amazing story.

Patti runs dozens of networking groups for BNI in the Boston area.  She arrived a little early to the meeting of one of the groups she was visiting that met in a private room at Fenway Park and noticed an older gentleman setting up coffee mugs in preparation for the meeting.  Patti is a master networker and so she struck up a conversation with the man while waiting for 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 tell her 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 the owner’s suite at Fenway Park in Boston because it gave him an opportunity to be close to his family while having a less hectic career later in life.

Patti asked him about some of the people that he met during his time in broadcasting.  He shared many great stories with her including an interview that he had done with JFK a week before he was assassinated.  He also talked about meeting Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela during his career.  It was an interesting conversation that she genuinely enjoyed.

Later when the meeting was in full swing, one of the members, Don, publicly mentioned that he would really like to do a radio talk show someday and 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 and learn a little about the man he’s seen every week for the last several months because he may very well be able to make a connection for him in the broadcasting industry.

The irony in this story is that he 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.

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, 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.

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