If you search the web looking for tips on how to build your networking skills, too often you get what I call the "Calling card and elevator pitch approach". These sites want to teach you how to "work a room" and frankly, they miss the whole benefit of network theory in all its richness and value to organizations and enterprises.
And then you get lucky and you come across a site like Interaction Institute for Social Change, IISC.
"Networks are social structures made up of nodes of individuals, groups, or organizations that are consciously or unconsciously connected to one another by common interests or attributes. Network building is a process that fosters, cultivates, and develops these connections and relationships in order to maximize the potential for people to actualize a shared intention. The use of social media in network building dramatically increases the breadth and scale of networks, allowing for innovative and sometimes unpredictable outcomes to emerge.
Three types of social change networks have been identified: the connectivity (emergent) network which connects people to allow easy flow of and access to information and transactions; the alignment network which aligns people to develop and spread an identity and a collective value proposition; and the production (action) network which fosters joint action for specialized outcomes by aligned people."
The IISC works with people to build the network they need, using the resources they have. Their methodology is rooted in the belief that sustainable success is balanced across three dimensions – results, process, and relationship. Working together, people build connections, create shared meaning, and build the necessary agreements to achieve their common goals.
Click here for a list of resources on network building for social change.
by Lin McDevitt-Pugh
Lin McDevitt-Pugh is founder of NetSHEila. With her team, she works with organizations to access the vast resources their networks could be providing. Whether you want to increase sales or influence politics, networks are part of your capital. Call on +31 6 150 48468 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.