Diversity is its own reward. Moving into new worlds is sure to be interesting, but Ron Burt, a professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, says you can expect even more good things. Burt researches the benefits of networking.
Here are a few of the advantages that accrue to the well-connected.
- They have a hand in and exercise control over more rewarding opportunities.
- They are paid better and promoted faster.
- They move information faster and to more people.
- They use less time and energy to get good results.
- They can tailor solutions instead of relying on one-size-fits-all answers to challenges.
Use these strategies to diversify your network:
- Allow serendipity. Challenge yourself to link with someone completely outside your usual milieu.
- Give yourself time with someone. Call a member of your professional association and plan to travel to the next event together – share a cab, ride the Metro, walk a few blocks. Again, each of you should bring something to share.
- Get a fast idea. Go to FastCompany.com. Past issues of the magazine are archived. Use a key word to get to a topic or organization you have never before delved into.
- Set up a lunch bunch. Call three other people for lunch. At lunch, give each person 15 minutes to tell something interesting or innovative about his or her organization or life.
- Sit with a new person. Call someone you don‘t know well and invite that person to sit with you at an upcoming event.
- Step out. Look in today’s newspaper for information about a meeting of a group you’ve never gone to.
- Talk about something new. Get with a long-time networking contact and interview that person to find some topic you’ve never discussed before.