Networking Outside of Comfort Zones

Proper networking and communication are essential elements of success not only in business, but also in our everyday lives. We know that effective networking is an art form, and that for us to really be successful, we must be able to talk to people from anywhere in the world. Just like the chameleon, a creature known for its ability to seamlessly meld into its surroundings, with time and determination networking will eventually come naturally and prove itself to be an effective tool both professionally and personally.

We often run in the same circles and communities that we know, like and trust. But we must open ourselves to new situations and surroundings, and develop a depth of understanding of the cultural traditions practiced by strangers. This will help us expand our network. It is vital to understand the importance of connecting with people of all cultures and religions. From the CEO in your building who greets you in the elevator, to the friendly seat mate on your next flight, to the mother of your child’s best friend in school, these people are the gatekeepers to critical contacts that can grow your team, be the beginning of a new business opportunity, or even be someone who could become a lifelong friend. There are opportunities all around us if we are willing to network beyond our comfort zone.

It can be difficult to walk into a room of strangers who share a similar culture and even more so if the room is a mix of cultures that you may not be familiar with. For those times when you can’t find the right words and don’t want to offend, simply rely on basic life experiences to provide talking points to strike up conversations. And for the times you are going to a new event, it is helpful to research attendees ahead of time so you know whom you want to “target”. Similarly, sitting back, observing, and learning about the room can often give the best social cues as to when it’s appropriate to jump into a conversation.

You will soon figure out what works best for you when it comes to meeting and relating to other people, but ultimately we all know that people need people. Diversity in our clientele as well as diversity in our internal team is the foundation of Paragon’s success. Our work allows people around the word to see other cultures through different lenses. A recent advertisement from Apple, which premiered during the Rio Olympics, used a voiceover from the prolific poet Maya Angelou. In the ad, Angelou recites a poem that speaks to the beauty of the “human family”, exquisitely illustrating how we are all interconnected and should be celebrated even in that which makes us different. We at Paragon could not agree more.  


We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

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