Are You An Expansionist, Broker, or Convener?

A Yale professor’s personality test shows your networking style

Marissa King
Published in
5 min readJan 27, 2021


Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

In work and in life, relationships are everything. Most of us know this intuitively. What most people don’t know, however, is that each of us is sitting on a simple, straightforward way to strengthen all our relationships in ways that are beneficial not only to us, but also to the people with whom we’re connected, and to the people they’re connected to, as well. All it takes is a little self-knowledge.

As a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, my research on social dynamics has led me to identify three main types of networkers: the expansionist, the broker, and the convener. (When I say “networkers,” I’m talking about building social networks in the broadest sense of the term — this applies to professional relationships, but it applies to friendships, too.) Most people will find that they fall into one of these categories. Understanding which one applies to you can transform the way you approach your relationships.

Here are three simple tests to help you figure it out:


First, let’s estimate the size of your active network. Take a look at the following four statistically common names:





How many people do you know with each one? For these purposes, let’s say you “know” someone if: (1) you recognize them by sight or name, (2) you could contact them without googling their email address or connecting through social media, and (3) you’ve been in contact with them by phone, snail mail, or face-to-face in the past two years. Don’t think too hard about this (it goes against the spirit of the exercise).

In a 2006 paper, researchers at Columbia and Princeton estimated that if you know one Adam, one Alan, one Rachel, and one Emily, the size of your network hovers…



Marissa King
Writer for

I am a professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management.