7 Keys to Creating and Maintaining a Powerful Network

Five of the keys measure the relationship between you and your acquaintance:

  1. Character: Your integrity, clarity of motives, consistency of behavior, openness, discretion, and trustworthiness. This is driven by the reality and the appearance: the real content of your character, and what each acquaintance thinks of your character.
  2. Competence: Your ability to walk your talk; your demonstrated capability. It includes functional knowledge and skills, interpersonal skills, and judgment. Similarly, this is driven by both the real level of your competence and by what each acquaintance views as the level of your competence.
  3. Relevance: The acquaintance’s value to you, defined as the acquaintance’s ability to contribute to your own goals. The acquaintance’s relevance is driven by the value of the acquaintance’s own network.
  4. Information: The data that you have about the acquaintance. First are the basic coordinates: e-mail address, phone numbers, family information, and so on. Also invaluable is information about his professional background, how his career is advancing, what coworkers say about him, what his likes and dislikes are, and so on.
  5. Strength: The closeness of the relationship between you and your acquaintance. This reflects the degree of trust and reciprocity between you.

The last two keys measures the size and the diversity of your network:

  1. Number: How many people you know directly, including both strong and weak ties.
  2. Diversity: Heterogeneity of your network by geography, profession, industry, and hierarchical position. In addition, your network should ideally be diverse by age, sex, ethnicity, political orientation, and so on.
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