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People Like Us – Networking 0

Posted on 17, November 2013

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People like us …… by David Rigby

 SCT director David Rigby will be addressing the Ignite group on Nov 27th  2013 in Bristol on the topic of networking called ‘People Like Us’. As it is fully booked here is thegist of the presentation

 When you walk into a room of strangers, whether at a party or a networking event, who do you seek out to talk too?  Do you take the PLU approach (‘people like us’ used by Lady Astor in the 1920s) and approach those who look like you, dress like you and hopefully have the same views as you?

Or do you take clues from the words people use to classify into a U and non-U to distinguish between the upper and middle classes. A term invented by Alan S C Ross professor of linguistics in 1954  and taken up by Nancy Mitford

 Do you choose the best looking or most attractive people in the room to talk to – hoping they will talk to you? 

 Or are you prepared to talk to anyone who doesn’t fit the above? How do you feel about talking to the non PLU’s – people outside the group you feel most comfortable with? It’s much more of a challenge.

 The case for diversity

 We all know that everyone is unique – even though people have things in common with each other they are also different in all sorts of ways. Differences include visible and non-visible factors, for example, personal characteristics such as background, culture, personality, and work-style, size, accent, language.

Some of these are covered by discrimination law to protect against being treated unfairly – things like race, disability, sexual orientation, age,gender reassignment, sex, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion and belief.

Managing diversity is valuing everyone as an individual – valuing people as employees, customers and clients. Even within a narrow band people have different needs, and so even people who appear to be in the same group within a PLU have different needs, values and beliefs. Equally individuals within different ‘diversity groups’ may have many characteristics in common.

Equal opportunities?

It is important to recognise that a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to managing people does not achieve fairness and equality of opportunity for everyone. 

Equal opportunity is often seen as meaning treating everyone in exactly the same way. But to provide real equality of opportunity, people need to be treated differently in ways that are fair and tailored to their needs but in ways that are aligned to business needs and objectives.

 There are three main strands to the business case for going beyond what is required by legislation: people issues, market competitiveness, and corporate reputation.

The law is there to enforce diversity, but the most successful organisations embrace diversity as a means of best utilising skills from different groups, if nothing else as a means of reaching out to those groups.

 Equally, having worked in 17 countries I have learnt to combine the accepted wisdoms of national characteristics with treating people as individuals. I have always sought to broaden my experiences and know how to do so. But I still have to ‘catch myself’ for avoiding particular groups.

But what about you?  Next time you go to party or networking – will it be more PLUs or the excitement of gaining new experiences and friends?  You may recognise that while you may be scared of meeting complete strangers they could equally be scared of meeting you.

 Our coaches can help you rise to the challenge to make life more exciting and rewarding and lead to opportunities you never dreamed possible.

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