Friday, May 22, 2009

What is the ideal sized networking group?

In my monthly column for the National Networker, 'UK: How Small Businesses Really Network' I wrote about the findings of some recent research conducted by Alan Rae and Lisa Harris. They studied how small companies network and establish the best balance between online and offline networking.

One of their findings was into the size of networking group favoured by their respondents. Most favoured a networking group of between 20 and 40 members. That supports the opinions that many people share when I ask that question at different group meetings.

It is also a figure that could be arrived at by combining the Dunbar number & the Pareto principle. According to the British anthropologist Robin Dunbar the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained is about 150. The Pareto principle (or 80-20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Therefore if we have a capacity for about 150 relationships and 20% have the potential to be the most beneficial the ideal group size would be about 30.

What is your experience in different groups?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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