Most of us instinctively know that the people we know play a crucial role in our professional growth. However, when it comes to networking, many of us focus on building solid relationships with a few individuals rather than branching out and connecting with a broader network. But what if we told you that weak ties are the key to unlocking new opportunities?
Weak ties are the people we’ve met but aren’t necessarily close with, such as former colleagues, acquaintances, or friends of friends. While these relationships may not be as strong as those with close friends or family, they can be highly beneficial for advancing your career or business. Why? Because weak ties offer access to new networks, information, and resources that we might not have otherwise.
Research has shown that weak ties are particularly valuable regarding job opportunities. The Standard Digital Economy Lab conducted a study on LinkedIn connections and found that the most significant job mobility comes from moderately weak ties.
In other words, those who had connections with people outside of their immediate circle of friends and colleagues were more likely to hear about job openings and be referred for new opportunities.
Similarly, weak ties can be an excellent source of new business opportunities. When we limit ourselves to a small circle of close contacts, we miss out on connecting with potential clients, partners, and collaborators outside our immediate network. Expanding our network to include weak ties increases our chances of finding new business leads, collaborations, and partnerships.
So, how can we cultivate weak ties?
The key is to try to meet new people and stay in touch. Attend networking events, connect with people on social media, and be open to meeting new people in your industry or field. While you may not become close friends with everyone you meet, staying in touch and maintaining a friendly relationship can pay off in the long run.
So, the next time you have the chance to meet someone new, don’t hesitate – that weak tie could be the key to unlocking your next big opportunity.