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Building networks

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Let's say that you feel called to contribute, somehow, to helping the world along, to playing your part.

Let's say you've figured out, or have known in your bones for a long time, that it's the connections you have with others the feed you, provoke you, amaze you. How to you grow those connections?

The first step is to think about what you want to talk about.

What needs attention now?

This is not a simple question. This is a question that lifts the lid on the treasure chest of your interests. Have a dig around in that chest.

What won't let you go? What has a grip on you?

What matters most right now to the enterprises to which you have committed yourself?

The stronger the networks around your passions, the more your passions move in the world. You get more done, you have more fun. You work the grain of conativity, Freya Mathew's way of pointing to the fit between what you and others want (see The Dao of Civilisation).

But which passion? And what specifically is calling out for conversation?

Get specific: pick what matters enough to invest the time and emotional attention it will take set up the conversation you want.

Then turn to the next step in building your networks:

Who could I talk with?

Who do I already know who I can easily reach out to? Who has the reputation, the smarts, and might tolerate an approach from me? Map this. Then start. Pick one person, and ...

Invite them.

There's a lot to framing an invitation, but when you've thought it out enough, it's time to deliver the invitation. This takes courage, audacity. Build yourself a runway. Think through or a couple of things you'd like to talk about, and why with this person. Find their phone number or email address. Put them on your to-do list.

One morning, when the mood is on you, and there's a space in the day, you'll call. And at the end of the week, when you look at your to do list and see that 'Call so-and-so' is still there, and then at the end of the week after that, you'll say to yourself: 'If don't do it now, that will have to come off my list.'

Take your courage in both hands, and tell that person what you've been thinking about. Give them the opportunity to say no! They may 'let's go', or 'tell me more, tell me more,' or 'nah sorry, I'm chockers right now'. But if you've done your groundwork, chances are they will say: 'Well that's very interesting. Thanks for asking. Let's make a time.'

That's the three step protocol for growing networks, and this was the principal finding of an inquiry into how to grow networks, from the fifth year of CLEA. Leaf back through the posts to find out more stuff we discovered, and how we got to this simple protocol of growing networks. But give it a go.

You'll be surprised by what happens.

Ross Colliver, Riddells Creek Landcare, 0411 226 519

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