The book offers a differing perspective to networking and connecting. The conventional idea is that strong links (friends/family) are the most important, but the authors suggest that individuals or organisations that rely on a multitude of weak links will prosper the most.
Typically those who are the most successful have an unusually large and varied assortment of friendly acquaintances who they maintain frequent but irregular contact with.
The main way we can build and maintain a large repertoire of excellent weak links is to keep a broad circle of friendly acquaintances and to be open to new people or worlds while continually thinking – at a patient, submerged level – how they might be relevant to our aspirations.
Meeting weak links
Beside just being open and serendipitous to new acquaintances we can use other tactics to meet new people. There are three ways we can do this.
- Deliberate immersions – getting a new job, new hobby, joining a new club, volunteering.
- Strategic positioning – going to places where there is plenty of opportunities for random contact with new people – walking your dog, sitting on a park bench, becoming a regular at a bar or coffee shop.
- Existing contacts – ask your existing contacts if they know people who might be interesting, revive old friendships and acquaintances.
One of the most powerful ways to forge weak links is through being part of a hub. A hub is a collection of people who work together to strengthen the hub. The most frequent hub you probably inhabit is your work one. Through your work you meet new people and form collections with them. However, particularly if your work hub is small, your work hub obviously restricts your ability to create lots of weak inks. Therefore, once you have learnt the key skills from your job and created as many weak links as possible, you should then join another hub. Through the process of “hub hopping” you can create an endless supply of weak links, which may prove invaluable. Hub hopping doesn’t just have to be for work, you can also hub hop across hobbies, across bars and restaurants you frequent, and across clubs you are part of.
Lastly, if you ever get into a position where you want to spread a new idea, operate on both sides of the equation – the benefits of the new idea, and the effort to understand it. Increase the benefits and make them obvious. Cut the energy required to grasp the new idea. Simplify it. Compress it into a soundbite.