The Five Types of People You Need in Your Professional Network - Work in Sports Podcast E065

By Brian Clapp | March 26, 2018

Getting many people to follow you, or connect with you, doesn't mean you have a great network. Here are the 5-types of people you need in your network and if you don't have them now - find them and become friends.

Hi everybody – I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for and this is the Work in sports podcast.

Happy Monday everyone – it’s March 26th Loyola Chicago is in the final four, which is weird, there is a stadium being built in Texas for eSports, which is also weird and Michael Bennett now of the Eagles is in trouble for elder abuse from the Super Bowl two years ago – what a week.Your Sports Career Questions Answered

But we’re talking about different stuff here on the show today – we’ve got some networking issues to handle, as in, chances are your professional network stinks.

Yes, the group of people you are connected to and surrounded by that either provide you advice in times of need or can help you land important connections that can lead to opportunities…are probably severely lacking.

Actually, it’s not probably – it’s likely.

Now as I’ve admitted on the podcast many times I’m not particularly good at the type of networking most people associate with building a network.

That sounds like a confusing sentence, but what I mean is, when you visually in your brain the concept of netyworking…you probably think of schmoozing. You probably visualize that outgoing person who is the life of the party, talks with ease to all kinds of people, laughs at everyone’s jokes and hands out business cards without any shame or awkwardness.

I am terrible at that stuff. I think the reason is because it’s disingenuous, no one seems authentic when they act that way, and that to me means any relationship you get out of it, would also be inauthentic.

The fruit of the poisonous tree.

Networking in my world vision, happens in a more authentic manner. Maybe it’s over coffee where you actually talk to someone. Or in the workplace, where you prove yourself with your work and attitude. Or via social groups comprised of people with shared visions (like our private Facebook group).

Again, networking isn’t a race to a number – like those people who brag about having 10,000 connections on LinkedIn – that to me means nothing if you don’t really know the 10,000 people enough to keep in contact on some level. No networking is a quality game, the right people, the right relationships you build, the right give back you provide –because remember you have to give in a networking relationship too – it’s not just take.

So enough with the preamble – let’s get to the question:

Art from Baltimore writes in –

“Hi Brian, I’m kind of annoyed at how often people talk about networking like it’s the most essential part of getting a job. I wish I could be hired based on my skills, attitude and passion more than who I know or who I am related to. I guess that is my fantasy world, which makes my fantasy life pretty boring.

But here’s a question – I don’t want to spend all my time trying to make a huge network of contacts, can you give me an idea on the types of people I should target for my network, so that I can I can get a good bang for my buck?”

Art, I found this question to be very interesting and plays very well into my personal mentality on networking. As I mentioned earlier – it’s not a massive numbers game, it’s finding the right people and keeping them in your regular contact list. It a relationship with the right group, not the biggest group.

You challenged me to quantify and label my network – which I like. Which is why I picked your question out of the number of questions we get each week at our email inbox. And just a friendly reminder if you email me your question and I answer in the show – I send you a promo code for a free month at  -- so you get your question answered, and get a freebie back. Win Win!

Alright Art – let’s do this.

I broke down my network into 5 parts, and I think this is a formula anyone can and should use when figuring out if their network is powerful enough to matter. So after you listen to this and do some self-analysis on your network, find out where your gaps are and target the right type of people.

Listen in to the podcast and Brian will explain the 5-types of people you need in your professional network:

#1 Elder Statesman (or Stateswoman)

#2 A Connector (or ten)

#3 Big Thinkers

#4 An Insider


#5 Realists

Get these five categories of people in your network and you’ll be in a better place, connected to many different types of personas instead of surrounding yourself with a bunch of one-noters.

Remember, it’s not about the numbers of connections you have – it’s about the right connections.

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