Although I’m not particularly fond of the idea, building a good network is somewhat similar to baking. It consists of ingredients and a processe. Dissimlar to baking, however, the process is more long running and is never really finished. In that sense building and maintaning is much more like gardening – you plant – you water – you weed – you . Please be advised that the metaphors are NOT based on my competences as at baking or gardening – some would say – to the contrary. Still I believe they are good and valid in this context…
Here are the ingredients for making a tasty (or should I say flourishing) network:
Those similar to you
I’ve found this is seldom a problem. Similarly minded people or people with similar interrests or backgrounds tend to flock together in communities. They often have similar competence, values or ideas and you need them to stay in touch with your field of expertise – the market place – what is going on in your field. They give you more and better of what you have.
However, one ingredient is usually not enough – it could be down-right dangerous. You need something to balance it with.
Those dissimilar to you
This one is less intuitive. You need them because they think differently – act differently. They challenge your thinking patterns. They complete your view of the world and yourself. Here you find the ones that – they are the ones you need to
Those persons with a gift for finding and disseminating deep knowledge – they “connect us with new knowledge”
Those with active networks – those people with a special gift for bringing the worlds together – they “connect us with the world” You need them both to learn from them when it comes to networking – and you can benefit from their network
They are the “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. Can help you convince or influence a person or an audience.
(yes, you’re absolutely right – the last three are from “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell…)
You need to have some successful people – just watching how they operate may give you a tip or two. Their success may also, of course, rub off on you – and you’re blessed. Of course I didn’t say what I mean by success – that would be up to how you define it for yourself…
And last but not least – the most important piece of advice would be:
Please dont be a jerk to anyone you (think you) don’t need…
Not just to avoid making them upset in case you would need them anyone – just because it isn’t nice…