TimeBank Mahoning Watershed

Introduction to Network Weaving
2010 – A Guest Post by – Jack Ricchiuto

One of the ways networks grow is through the growth of network weavers. These are Biz-people-connecting6x4people who generously give time to connecting people in a network. Most networks already have network weavers, though they may not be obvious or named as such.

One of the ways we identify existing weavers is by asking the more engaged and connected people in the network who they go to for new ideas, resources, or support. The people most often mentioned are often the most active weavers in the network. They often do not have high visibility or positional prominence in the network. They may have no formal leadership roles or power over significant decisions that occur in the network.

Network weavers have three common characteristics.

1. They keep up to date with what’s happening in the network. They stay curious about who’s new, who’s doing something new, and who could help others in the network.

2. They are credible in the network. People like them and believe what they say. What gives then credibility is that they are good storytellers and storylisteners, which makes others feel a positive connection with them.

3. They actively introduce people for the purpose of creating new connections of generosity, exchange, or collaboration. They help people get to expand their awareness and reach into the network for idea, resources, and support.

iStock_000001037910SmallThere are no generational or gender restrictions to anyone being a network weaver in a network. Network weavers can either have long tenure in a network or be relatively new to a network.

The number and quality of network weavers can grow in three ways.

1. People spontaneously see what other network weavers are doing, and get inspired to start or develop their own willingness and skill in network weaving.

2. Existing network weavers intentionally encourage and invite others to do the same.

3. Leaders in the network intentionally encourage, invite and support others to start doing more or better network weaving.

Network weaving is a generous commitment of time and energy to connecting people in the network. It is also a very specific craft that can be explicitly learned, taught, practiced, and developed. Learning happens through observation, instruction, mentoring and practice.

Some of the skills involved in network weaving include: engaging people in accidental conversations, asset mapping in networks, making inspiring introductions, storytelling, story listening, and the art of small talk.

The more network weavers grow, the more networks grow, and the more the quality of everyone’s life in a network grows.

If you want to discuss the above ideas, Contact Tony Budak

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