Sunday, February 24, 2008

66 Tips For Better Networking - #58 - Do Not Network Behind A Wall

Successful business professionals often run the risk of creating an artificial wall around themselves and only interacting with those on the same side of the barrier.

What happens to many is that they get busy and find themselves only building connections with people in the same industry, company or geographic region. They do not mean to isolate themselves from the outside world, but they wake up to discover that while they may know a lot of people, there is no depth to their network.

To ensure that you have diversity in your network you need to seek out making real connections with people who have a variety of backgrounds and interests. Do not limit your efforts to those whose careers and interests are the same as your own. While you do not want to exclude those like you (in fact, most of your friends and close colleagues will have similarities), you must make sure that you are looking beyond the norm.

When you have the opportunity to make connections with people in other cities, states and countries, you should work especially hard to make, keep and grow these business relationships. Real friendships take work to cultivate and blossom. This used to be difficult with those who were not nearby, but with all the new advances in interpersonal communications, it is now just as easy to make connections around the globe as it is around the corner.

You should also make friends with folks in industries that are unrelated to your own. Too many people only see themselves as "teachers", "lawyers", "software sales professionals, "java programmers", "marketers", etc... The truth is that most of the skills you use in your daily career would translate easily into other jobs. Because of this, your future opportunities are endless if you have the right contacts.

Tear down that wall. Expand your territories. Welcome others into your world.

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...


I think this point is a strong one. Too often people wonder why their network/contacts/friendships are not more robust, but it is often that they have too narrow a view both in time and interest of those who would be great long-term contacts ... and friends.

While I have been only following your posts more recently, although I have known you for 8 years, I think your blog is great. Thanks for the effort you make with it.

A new and avid reader.

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice, Thom. Thanks for the reminder to step away from the echo chamber.

Zita Gustin said...

Another excellent post Thom! Variety is the spice of life and the spice of your network. I read a different blog post yesterday where the author was talking about how he only wants A list people in his network ... the cream of the crop. I felt really sorry for him because he is limiting himself in so many ways. But, I guess to each his or her own!

Keep up the great work, you always stimulate me to think bigger, wider, and deeper about networking!