Gentle Networking

As you will know from previous posts – I really like the work/blogs/books of Chris Brogan. He’s just launched a new blog called Escape Velocity – and one of the first blog posts he has created is about “Gentle Networking”.

I can’t think of a better term to describe “how to” develop a Personal Network. His post is full of popular themes:-


“it’s not what people can do for you; it’s what you can do for others.”

“That’s the secret. If you can do a lot for a lot of people without needing

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the money, then the bigger ticket paybacks end up being amazing, and you end up having a strong and powerful network.”

“you MUST do these things without EXPECTING anything back. This is the super secret (and really really really hard to learn) part of this.”

This mantra is called “Pay it Forward” by Neal Schaffer, “Giver’s Gain” by Dr. Ivan Misner, “Don’t keep score” by Keith Ferrazzi and “Love Cats” by Tim Sanders.


“However, you can’t rush networking. You can’t rush friendship. You can’t rush the serendipity effect that happens from these experiences. Just like you can’t dig a hole, throw some seeds in, and wait a few minutes for the apple to fall into your hand, you have to grow your network slowly, and feed it value. You have to find opportunities to tend it, to give it light (by promoting others), and you have to give it plenty of water (or potential deal flow) to make it worthwhile.”

“We’ve connected each other with others in our networks. THIS is the longer value yield of gentle networking.”

Again, Dr. Ivan Misner’s puts this forward in his book “Networking Like a PRO” – and others follow the theme.

Chris is keen on “a face to face connection”. I’m also a fan of “real-life” relationships – and find that on-line networking is a poor substitute. However, I would take the view that with distant contacts (weak ties) on-line is an effective way to “ping” and keep in touch. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Pareto principle should be prescribed to networking time – 20% on-line (communicating efficiently with the many) and 80% real world (building deeper relationships with the few).

Chris’s “Gentle Networking” pulls together many of the key principles of Personal Networking so neatly. Do subscribe to Chris’s Escape Velocity blog and newsletter – it’s a good read (and hopefully a healthy supplement to this blog!).

  1. October 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for that Phil, didn’t know about Chris’s new blog will have to check that out

  2. October 15, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for popping by. Chris’s new blog seems pretty interesting – quite a few guest posts with a focus on personal development and business growth.

  3. October 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I like the very latest post by this Chris you recommend:” A Note About Choice”. It is particular resonant for me because of a number of difficult choices I have made in my life. It takes courage to “disagree” with the prevailing currents or with the overbearing realities of others.

    The point you and others make about “giving” is what i would call common sense. Luckily my sister and I had a mother who exemplified “giving” and got back the most amazing things – like Joe Turner coming to play on the baby grand piano on our boat on the Seine night after night for YEARS…. Our mother was a networker extraordinaire – and in the gentlest and most generous sense, but then many people who grew up in the former colonies just naturally forged themselves, most often with no ulterior motive, no special end, fantastically powerful and symbiotic international networks that kept yielding them (and those associated to them, such as children) quite amazing returns (intellectually, culturally, etc.).

    Wholeheartedly agree with the 20/80 ratio you put forth. Perhaps I’d even lean to 15/85 or 10/90! Fact is, 15% focus on on-line / strengthening of weaker / distant ties can be exponentially massive when you know how to efficiently use forwards (properly personalized bien entendu), as well as CCing and BCCing and that wonderful invention of cut & paste. One can, in a very short time, communicate with many and still do it sensitively rather than roughly.

  4. October 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Laury. I am glad you enjoyed Chris Brogan’s blog.

    I totally agree that giving is what you “would call common sense” – but as in everything in life it’s surprising how few people use common sense (including me – frequently!). I think it’s also a cultural change that has moved the over-riding mantra of the age to be “what’s in it for me” or “why should I help”.

    Big Joe Turner on your boat, on the Seine, belting out “Shake, Rattle & Roll” – now that’s got to be an encouragement for the world to be more giving!

    I’m near to having some of the basic research I am doing ready to publish. Just been going through some of it this morning. Your gut feel on by 80:20 being too generous to on-line might well be right. Maybe it is on 10%….

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