1. Network With Intention
One way to diversify their professional network is to pinpoint the intent behind the connection. When the intent behind connection is to help bring value in the relationship, then it is much easier to connect with and expand your professional network. Intend to be of service with whomever you interact with.
2. Look For Complementary Connections
Operational networks provide resources for your current role. To build for the future, diversify your strategic network through complementary industries. Joining a multidisciplinary team can offer insight into professions that connect with and contribute to your own. Volunteering offers opportunities to connect over common values; joining a board brings you in contact with other executives and leaders. -
3. Build A Generational Portfolio
There are many ways to diversify your network, but there are many mistakes we often make, as well. We tend to add people who we believe can help us, but it is just as important to span generations and connect with folks who may not be peers, who are younger and may seem to offer less—on the surface. Consider your network like a stock portfolio: have just as many rising stars as the blue chips.
4. Change The Type of Networking
Instead of only attending the same networking events with mostly the same people, go toto find new and unique local networking opportunities. Join a tech group, business book club or "professionals who hike" club. If you don't see something you like, you can easily start a new club. It is an easy way to meet new people and expand your network.
5. Connect With Different People
It's easy to connect with people who look like you. You automatically have things in common and the conversation flows freely. It takes more work to connect with people who are different. Start a conversation with someone that is younger, a different gender or a different race. Ask them what their goals are. Get curious and ask them about their experience. This can be a win for both of you.
6. Create A List Of Essential Connections
Most people have a to-do list for transactions in life. I recommend using a "To-Who List" for essential connections in your life. Met a fascinating person at a conference? Put them on your list. Want to get promoted? Add the decision-makers to your list. Regularly review your list and reach out to folks via a phone call, brief text or email. Do this and never let key relationships lapse again.
7. Build Your ‘Board Of Directors’
Think of your career as you having your own board of directors of professional contacts. They can provide insight and networking on all of the different aspects of work, whether it be various industries, companies, departments within organizations, job hunting, personal branding, skill development, etc. Before you know it, you'll have a robust, well-rounded network of great advocates.
8. Leverage Professional Organizations
Grow your career and diversify your network by doing your research on what professional organizations support your business and use them to build business relationships. Keep in mind, these organizations also have greater benefits than just networking. They can give your career an edge through certifications, learning sessions and other ways to deepen your subject matter expertise and drive your career growth.
9. Get More Involved
Whether it is a faith community, a civic organization or a local professionals' network, getting plugged in and engaged in at least one community will open doors that will deepen your own learning and provide you with a steady reminder that you are not in this journey alone. These communities provide you with new opportunities to grow in service, as well as ask for help from others when needed.
10. Engage With People You Want To Know
LinkedIn is an excellent tool to help start conversations that will expand your network. But that doesn't start with a connection request. It starts by listening and responding to what your target contact says in articles and posts on LinkedIn. By commenting on posts, you demonstrate that you are
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listening. Your comment also starts a conversation and a relationship that you can expand on.