This past weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to hang out with some great friends of ours—Kent and Deb. In general, our time spent with Kent and Deb is always amazing every chance we have to get together. But there are times when I like to hang out with just Kent and pick his brain, especially when I’m in the market for volunteer help or need connections for planning an event. Kent is one of those guys who’s incredibly well-connected. He can strike up a conversation with anyone and within 10 minutes has their business card, phone number, or email to reconnect when the opportunity is right. Kent knows just the right things to say to get people on board or to tag along with him to church. As a pediatric dentist, I’m pretty sure he’s connected me with nearly all of his patients at one time or another—he invites them to VBS, special events, our family service—you name it and Kent finds a way to introduce them to our ministry and ultimately, to Jesus.
As we explore Chapter Two of the book, The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, we’ll discover how people like Kent—the Connectors—play an important role in creating a social epidemic. But they aren’t alone: there are also Mavens—those who have information on a lot of different things and they are very willing to share that information. In addition to the people who know everyone and those that know everything, you sprinkle in some Salesmen—those who can persuade people who are unconvinced by what they are hearing, and you’ve got the “perfect storm” for a social Tipping Point.
Here are some of their qualities:
- They have a knack for making friends and acquaintances easily.
- They know a lot of people and they also know a lot of different “kinds” of people.
- They manage to occupy many different worlds, subcultures, and niches.
- They see possibility.
Here’s what makes them unique:
- They have information on a lot of different things and likes to share that information.
- They like to help; and naturally draw attention from their actions.
- They are a teacher, but are also a good student.
This is why they are effective persuaders:
- They know how to make persuasive use of the little things as well as the big things.
- They have an understanding that nonverbal cues are as important, if not more important, than verbal cues.
- They have a natural understanding and tendency to persuade others in ways that often aren’t appreciated (such as the subliminal nod or smile).
Think On This:
Who are people that you know that may fit into each of these categories and why? In what ways would they be helpful in leading or promoting an “epidemic” in ministry? How can each of these “roles” in creating a tipping point help your ministry grow?