What’s Your Networking Style?
- blog1 Feb 2023
It’s not the size of our networks that matters but the quality of connections that impacts the way we experience the world. Beyond the walls of our homes/offices, the relationship we share with others plays a role in exposing us to the new and sailing through life’s ups and downs.
As the National Director of Corporate Connections UAE, I came across a fascinating read ‘Social Chemistry’ that got me to deeply reflect on our networking techniques and the meaning we derive from our connections. For anyone curious about the dynamics of human interaction, the book full of insights will decode your perspectives towards networking and align them with your life plans.
The author identifies three networking styles—expanding, brokering, and convening — to improve the quality of your connections. You can take on a style in line with your goals.
This category of networkers are social butterflies who form large social groups. Meeting lots of new acquaintances excites them and they connect on a moment-to-moment basis. Though vast, this is a relatively weak network that lacks depth. Also, the need for huge connections puts too many demands on their time risking a burn-out situation. However, when ideas and information need to be diffused expansionists play a predominant role in it.
A brokers’ network comprises cross-connections with diverse sets of talented individuals who overlap less. Serving as the interconnecting link to diverse professions or experiences, a broke facilitates collaboration and gets perspectives/ideas exchanged between groups. Such networks bring new-found knowledge and brokers play a major role in initiating social change.
Seeking deep connections, conveners establish resilient networks in which their friends are also each other’s friends. Such close-knit interconnected groups offer a sense of security, certainty and emotional fulfillment. As everyone knows each other, there exists a high level of trust and sense of belonging. The downside is that their insular nature gives less exposure to the new.
Though the author lists the pros and cons of each style, the most appropriate is one that matches your goals and career stage. Arguably, at the end of the day, our relationships significantly impact our lives, and we need to understand the contours of our networks to derive meaning.