I think strategic pro bono work is a hugely untapped resource for nonprofits, so I was delighted to recently learn about this tool. It’s certainly in a beta stage, but it has a lot of potential and already evident functionality.
Applicants need to be at least 18 years of age, have a deep sense of purpose, willingness to build and maintain healthy relationships, the capacity for self-reflection and ability to trust. They must be resilient, adaptable, curious, creative and resourceful.
Mars One is not seeking specific skill sets such as medical doctors, pilots or geologists. Rather, candidates will receive a minimum of eight years extensive training while employed by Mars One. While any formal education or real-world experience can be an asset, all skills required on Mars will be learned while in training.
Nine months ago, I shared an article called Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector. Since then, I have developed and offered a class on just that. It’s been a popular class – surprisingly so – and I’ve learned a lot through teaching it. For instance:
- People have a hard time realizing their existing network.
- There’s genuine interest in developing stronger connections with people, but fear of going about it the ‘wrong’ way.
- It’s a tough sell on why you’d want to go out of your way to connect two people with each other, because people want to unveil the hidden agenda.
I’ve also fine-tuned my definition of a Connector, which I think was a huge self-learning for me in 2012. I didn’t previously parse out what exactly makes me a Connector, nor did I think about why it is an asset that I can leverage in my career or otherwise. Here’s how I define it:
A Connector is a person who…
- has lots of great people in their network
- naturally introduces members of their network to one another
- is socially fluent
- is known and respected in their communities
…and who uses that power to bring individuals in their network together constructively and with overall success.
This year, I have embraced this personality trait and run with it, and I’m proud to have connected people over ideas, shared interests, collaborative potential, accountability, research, and resources. I enjoy connecting good people, and am fortunate to have (or to create) many opportunities for doing so. It’s a science, an art, and an energizing delight.
Most exciting to me is that connecting people unleashes unlimited potential. I can’t wait to see what partnerships, conversation, and social change are sparked through catalytic connection; the power never stops!
Wolfram Alpha, a cool tool for learning anything about everything, just added integration with Facebook so you can analyze your network. As someone who is fascinated by the people who surround me, I tested it out and it was definitely both fun and interesting.
Some of my favorite findings worth sharing here (though I question the complete accuracy):
Most common friends’ names:
Sarah (23) | Rachel (22) | Michael (19) | David (18) | Jason (18)
Single (24.5%) | Married (29.5%) | Engaged (9%) | In a Relationship (34%)
Female (58.3%) | Male (41.7%)
Most commented on status:
The one after I was hit by a truck last summer (37 comments)
Word frequencies for wall posts:
friends (96) | know (79) | new (70) | fun (69) | please (69) |
people (66) | good (63) | really (62) | day (61) | awesome (58)
And my visualization of my network, which I think I might adopt as a personal branding tool / logo for all things connector. (What do you think?)
If you want to create a network, awaken the possibilities in those that you connect with. You can grow a more vibrant community in the next six months by genuinely listening to others than you can in the next six years by trying to get others interested in you and your plans.
My friend Alisha thinks very similarly to how I do about “networking,” and she just wrote a great post about it. Here’s an excerpt describing what networking should be and what a lot of people try to make it:
What is networking, even? To be honest, I hate the term. Networking to me is a couple of things:
- connecting people through genuinely exciting ideas
- being social and attending social gatherings
- fostering meaningful discussion
- building a community of friends, peers, and leaders who will shape your goals
- helping people help you achieve said goals
Networking is not the following, if you ask me:
- blindly handing out business cards
- steering conversations to be self-promotional
- upselling your skills or expertise
- faking your role in your industry
- talking buzzwords and schemes to make yourself look good
- stalking social media users online
- going to happy hour meetups all the time to score free food & drinks
As with anything else, there are rules to building your network and sharing it with others. The rest of the post gives some good pointers for not ruining the network you are constantly building.
This is what I do. I should probably bring it to some sort of scale someday. If you need connecting, I’m your girl.
[That statement alone is the downside of being a connector; we exhaust ourselves with completely sincere offers and then all of the requests and ideas come at once. But I’ve accepted that and love it anyway.]
Interesting blog post, though I have a few thoughts about / additions to it. Being a connector certainly is all of these things, but when there isn’t sincere interest in what you’re doing or the people you’re connecting, you can’t be an effective connector in the long term because people stop buying into it. How can you make each connection genuine? It’s also important in being a connector to remember that there are times not to connect; counter-intuitive, I know, but having the discretion to know the right timing if ever is key. Connections can be awkward if not done well, and then you’re adding a layer of complexity to someone’s life that perhaps is unnecessary. Finally, I would add that you should be strategic in not burning through or using up contacts. People don’t want to feel like they’re your token (for instance) finance buddy or comedy buddy or fundraising buddy. Make sure that you’re not tapping people unnecessarily or too frequently, because even if you’re great at managing a broad network, this may become overwhelming for them, which may affect your relationship.