Networking can be a loaded word. Some of you are flinching right now, as memories of unfulfilled expectations from past networking events fill your mind. Others of you feel so intimidated by the concept that you never attend in the first place.
At one time or another, I have been in both camps. When I have been in the latter camp, one thing that kept me connecting is the concept of “Six Degrees of Separation”–the idea that each of us is only six people or less away from anyone we want to meet. The concept was popularized several years ago by the actor Kevin Bacon.
However, this “small world” idea is many years old, and based on the scientific approaches of people like Stanley Milgram, a former social scientist at Harvard.
It was 1967, and
Their assignment? Send the packet to someone they knew on a first name basis, who was most likely to be closest to one of the
Although prior work on this topic had been done by others,
In the end, what matters most is not the number, but the fact that you are only several people or fewer away from whomever you want to meet! This knowledge can change not only your outlook on networking, but also your strategy and approach.
Next time: Leveraging the six degrees of separation. (If you would like to see the Six Degrees in action with Kevin Bacon, go to www.oracleofbacon.org).