Wosk Centre for Dialogue
This last Thursday I attended a workshop put on by the Vancouver Board of Trade. It was hosted by VBOT managing director Darcy Rezac. Rezac is the author of “The Frog and Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking“.
First off, I would like to make note of the event’s facility; It was held at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. It is a beautiful facility – by far the nicest conference room I’ve been in before. If i’m remember correctly, it is the same room that housed the recent visit of the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Shirin Ebadi (all Nobel Laureates) to Vancouver. You can’t enter the room without being reminded of the UN.
Mr. Rezac’s presentation was informative – Often when management topics are being discussed, much of the content can seem obvious, but I think the value is in identifying patterns, and actually taking the care to write down the findings. Much of the value is found in actually taking a critical approach to a skill that we may take for granted.
Some of the topics that I found particularly interesting included the concept of “networking buddies”, his exploration of “Social Capital”, and his demonstration of the academic study of human networking, internal networking, and, finally, the imporance of Stories.
When heading into a networking environment (conferences, dinners) set explicit guidelines for you and your networking buddy: Create signals for when you want to be rescued from latchers; Make sure the other person knows to introduce themselves if you don’t introduce them first; Use Glowing Introductions as a way to let others know about your buddy (it creates a positive first impression that would seem obstentatious coming from them).
This is a concept that has been addressed quite a bit in blogs I’ve read. Mr. Rezac concluded that successful people are presented to opportunites through their networks, and that the value of their networks
Academic Study of Networking
This lead to the identification of supernodes – those among us that serve as connectors and catalysts. Research has shown that a introducing a small degree of randomness into a ordered network, increases the proximity of the connections throughout the entire network. The randomness was in the form of indivduals that maintained slightly above normal “connectivity” or networking ability. The moral of the story is that you should identify the supernodes, and get close.
Frog and Prince
Networking does not begin outside your own organization – the importance of networking within an organization is often more important that outside. Rezac differentiated between political connections and effective networking.
Importance of Stories
Stories provide fuel for effective networking – People are naturally drawn to those who are good storytellers.
There were more, but you’ll have to buy to book to find out
One of my concerns after the event was Network Maintenance – What do you do when your network is too big too handle? The answer is that it doesn’t get too big to handle.
I’m in Calgary and Edmonton for the next week – see you all there.