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Networking 101 – Get Some Diversity Going

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Here’s a question – how about adding diversity to your networking as a business person?

Now that got your attention going didn’t it?  Many of you have heard me say “Mix with like minded persons or people in the same kind of line or if you are a start up, network with other start ups”, and now I am going to completely rock the boat and say . . . .

For a deeper and more profound networking experience, mix with people who are completely different from yourself.  Connect with individuals who are definitely opposite to you.  People who don’t look or dress like you, who certainly sound nothing like you.  People who come from different cultures, different ethnic backgrounds, different education and different walks of life.

Ok, let me explain why.  Networking is not only about people who are similar or people who are diverse from you – it’s actually about both!

You see, when you started your networking journey – to mix with those that walked the same path as you, or who experienced the same problems as you and so on, made it easier and less stressful for you to interact with them. You had things in common, so it felt comfortable and familiar.

So then, why should a brain surgeon meet and interact with someone who owns a construction company? What could they possibly have in common?  Well the answer is both ‘nothing’ and ‘everything’!

What we often lose sight of as we are networking is that that it is very seldom about ‘instant gratification’ and in view of that, can you just imagine the opportunities that would be uncovered if those two individuals were connectors?

Whilst you are thinking about that, think also about the number of and kind of opportunities that you have probably missed along the way because your mindset was one of ‘how can Jane Doe possibly be of help to me and I certainly don’t want anything from her!’

In retrospect, how short sighted is that?  Look at how you are limiting yourself!  Look at the constraints that you have inflicted upon yourself.  Look at all the opportunities you have lost!

Take heart though and don’t beat yourself up too badly.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  You see, opportunities are never lost – if you don’t take them up they just become someone else’s and believe me some more will come along that are tailor made for you.