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7 Ways to Diversify Your Network

Monday, August 13, 2012
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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:  

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  1. Allow serendipity. Challenge yourself to link with someone completely outside your usual milieu.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Sit with a new person. Call someone you don‘t know well and invite that person to sit with you at an upcoming event.
  6. Step out. Look in today’s newspaper for information about a meeting of a group you’ve never gone to.
  7. Talk about something new. Get with a long-time networking contact and interview that person to find some topic you’ve never discussed before.
About the Author

Anne Baber is co-founder of Contacts Count LLC, and a nationally known expert on building business relationships. She presents keynotes, workshops, and customized training programs for professional services firms, corporations, associations, and government agencies. Anne is co-author, with Lynne Waymon, of a dozen books, tapes, and networking and career aids. Their most recent book is Make Your Contacts Count.

About the Author

Lynne Waymon is a thought leader in the field of business networking and the CEO of Contacts Count, an international training firm that specializes in helping organizations create collaborative cultures for the network-oriented workplace. She also co-authored Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World.

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