Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peer to Peer - each other's best resource

I started with this as my basic concept. I talk about peer to peer so much that I can't believe I haven’t blogged about it in all these months. Like the foundation of a building, I've taken it for granted that we all stand on it.

How did I figure peer to peer (P2P) as the most successful way to approach building a personal community?

I asked myself: what are women great at doing? Building communities - personal communities that incorporate the private and the professional, the intimate and the public.

How? By gathering family, friends and neighbours co-workers around the table and hosting a conversation. Call it the kitchen table, the conference table or the patio - we’re great at getting folks talking and sharing.

We’re natural facilitators - giving as much as we receive. Making folks comfortable. Encouraging conversation and debate.

The same tools that make us good as facilitators should make us natural networkers. We’re always doing networking when we gather a table.

Let’s call this ability to gather a table: peer to peer (P2P) networking.

P2P simply put is about creating the various tables and circles of folks with whom you share information, successes, failures and questions.

It’s folks of your level (social, professional – choose the designation) with whom you can debate the questions.

The P2P hierarchy isn’t traditional – it’s not based on position, title or industry. It is experience to experience. Body of knowledge to body of knowledge. Everyone has something to contribute. There is no supplicant in this equation.

Life is collaborative. We come together in changing roles (manager, expert, guest, etc.) - by project or event - and learn from each other all the time: experienced manager sharing with the expert, new career sharing with the person who already reinvented themselves, someone finishing a process with someone just starting.

A team meeting, a barbeque, a golf 4some, a brainstorming session with your trusted peers - all ripe for P2P networking.

Networking happens all the time by this definition. Every meeting, every time you stand in a line up for coffee, every elevator ride is ripe to make a connection and share information.

Remember - networking isn’t a single event - it’s a process.

P2P networking you can start today. You can offer and you can receive support and advice - you can ask questions - you can simply meet people with no agenda other than asking yourself - would I sit at this person’s table?

It’s a building personal community.

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