The concept of ‘networking’ has always been a hard pill for me to swallow. It always seemed like it was forcing something that wasn’t there naturally. The smooth handshake and business card, wearing a suit with a flash smile to win someone over – it’s just not me.

I have a different perspective now. Networking and leveraging your network is something that defines us as humans. It calls back to our tribal roots and it is unavoidable. Essential.

However, the pace at which networking operates is much slower than I thought when I was younger. A good impression here and there adds up over time, until you get referrals, or you give referrals to someone in your network.

A strong network should have some key attributes:

  • Everyone you feel is in your network needs to trust you
  • You need to be able to contact anyone in the network at any time
  • Autonomy is key – a pyramid is not a network. Networks are best when they are flat structures, with everyone feeling equal peers within the network.

A network is extremely valuable. Greater than the sum of its parts, it is a safety net to weather any storm.