Words by Jo McLean – CEO The Touring Network


I like to ask members of The Touring Network why they value their membership– mainly because I’m curious to know if they understand the potential power of the network and how best to use it.

Networking may feel like a modern phenomenon which relies on social media, or more business focused events to connect individuals to like-minded or beneficial groups.  But networking has been around as long as life forms have been on the planet.  So what is the most obvious benefit?  Survival. And how successful groups or species are, is in their ability to share experiences and learn; what we refer to as networking.

Although humans are arguably the most advanced networking species, less ‘advanced’ life forms rely on networking, or co-dependent relationships to survive and indeed thrive. For example, 90% of plants connect to an underground network of fungi (sometimes called Earths natural internet) which supplies them with nutrients and information as well as boosting their immune system. In return plants supply the fungi with food.  The same is true for trees; they transfer carbon (vital to growth) through the fungal internet, and other nutrients through their connecting roots ensuring that those who need it most receive more. They even connect with their competitors to help them survive…

Why are they so generous? It’s simple – and for the same reasons as human communities; one tree alone is not a forest; it is at the mercy of the elements. But together they can create an ecosystem which protects them and enables them to live to be very old. 

But it’s not only nutrients they supply; in order for the community to thrive they must all remain intact; gaps would enable damaging storms or intense summer heat to enter. So as well as connecting under the ground, the canopy is equally important.  They are also able to communicate through scent, warning their neighbours of impeding danger – and there are different levels of connection which depend upon how useful the ‘colleague’ will be.  

Looking at natural examples of networking illustrates beautifully how important collaborating is. Striding out alone may work for a while, but strength and sustainability is in sharing your resources, knowledge and experience. 

Deb Mills a consultant strategist, visiting scholar at Brown University and teacher at Oberlin College recognised the power of networks at an early age. Most of the members of her extended family were killed by the Nazis during the holocaust. Those that survived fled to Australia, England, Budapest and Israel, and relied on a world wide network for survival.  She explains networks in the following way

Without the network, you don’t get new ideas into your organization, you don’t see trends and issues that affect you and your customers, you don’t grow and develop your people with new challenges and opportunities, you aren’t attractive for young talent, you don’t learn about new technologies or business models, you don’t create new markets and you risk deluding yourself with your own ideas. You don’t increase your own value and advance your own career. Without the network you stagnate, you become stale. With the network you grow, provide meaningful and valuable solutions to your customers and not just survive, but thrive. 

Our network is growing steadily, and increasing in expertise due to the diversity of members.  Touring Network staff are always on hand to guide and advise, but don’t forget that your fellow members have bags of experience in a variety of different areas. Take advantage of the opportunities offered by meeting your fellow members.  Whether they are individuals or organisations, promoters or performers, everyone has a story to tell, something to learn and something to share. 

If you are unable to come to our network meet-ups, there are other ways to connect with the network:

  • Promoter Members – Our safe, private and supportive Facebook group OR our soon to be launched online forum
  • All Members – can connect with each other here OR our via soon to be launched online forum

To speak with Jo, Rhiannon or Claire at The Touring Network get in touch 


The Touring Network (Highlands & Islands)

Supporting live performance across the Highlands & Islands as part of a central, celebrated and indispensable part of the cultural life of Scotland.

01463 231328
hello@thetouringnetwork.com

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