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Six degrees of separation, Energy, Chi, Ki – that’s networking success!

May 4, 2012

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one “step” away from each person they know and two “steps” away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is no more than six “steps” away from each person on Earth.

Several studies, such as Milgram’s small world experiment, have been conducted to empirically measure this connectedness. While the exact number of links between people differs depending on the population measured, it is generally found to be relatively small. Hence, six degrees of separation is synonymous with the idea of the “small world” phenomenon.  The experiment was orginally carried out using the following procedure – a direct mail campaign!?

Basic procedure

  1. Though the experiment went through several variations, Milgram typically chose individuals in the U.S. cities of Omaha, Nebraska and Wichita, Kansas to be the starting points and Boston, Massachusetts to be the end point of a chain of correspondence. These cities were selected because they were thought to represent a great distance in the United States, both socially and geographically.
  2. Information packets were initially sent to “randomly” selected individuals in Omaha or Wichita. They included letters, which detailed the study’s purpose, and basic information about a target contact person in Boston. It additionally contained a roster on which they could write their own name, as well as business reply cards that were pre-addressed to Harvard.
  3. Upon receiving the invitation to participate, the recipient was asked whether he or she personally knew the contact person described in the letter. If so, the person was to forward the letter directly to that person. For the purposes of this study, knowing someone “personally” was defined as knowing them on a first-name basis.
  4. In the more likely case that the person did not personally know the target, then the person was to think of a friend or relative he knew personally who was more likely to know the target. He was then directed to sign his name on the roster and forward the packet to that person. A postcard was also mailed to the researchers at Harvard so that they could track the chain’s progression toward the target.
  5. When and if the package eventually reached the contact person in Boston, the researchers could examine the roster to count the number of times it had been forwarded from person to person. Additionally, for packages that never reached the destination, the incoming postcards helped identify the break point in the chain.

Can this be carried out using LinkedIn, Outlook, Google+ – would it be quicker that using ‘mail’?

Perhaps as you get older, the degree goes down to one or two degrees of separation.  Is that because we are less active – not physically but we could have retired from business – saying that my parents and parents in law are all retired and are busier now then they have ever been and with a wider circle of contacts – mostly social, recreational!

Another concept which has its origins in Eastern Philosophy is that there is no such thing as coincidence- we are where we are because that is where we are meant to be and that we all have messages for each other and this turns the whole process into more of a game than a chore.  Serendipidity.  The Secret

Thinking about the events that you go to – responding to an invitation, clicking through Eventbrite and we all have so many to choose from – and not always having the time to do your research, plan the event, set your objectives, work on  your message you can give yourself a fall back position.

You are where you are for a reason and that the person you are talking to has a message for you or a connection to you and you just need to talk to each other until you find it. – the art of conversation and asking the right questions

If you are genuinely interested in someone and are listening to what they are saying, you will remember them. The more you relaxed you are about it the easier it becomes.  The converse is true – you will be memorable to those that you meet.

The key component to great connections – ENERGY

“Energy? Connections? What’s this all about? Have you ever encountered a situation when you walk into a room with other people in it and you feel an overwhelming sinking feeling– or you have a good day and you go home and your partner hasn’t and your mood suddenly drops that’s negative energy.
Now sometimes it is caused by how we are feeling and sometimes by how others are feeling. If someone is unhappy or depressed, and you spend time with them, you end up feeling some of their unhappiness- energy attracts energy. Conversely, when we are around upbeat people you feel happy and positive.
So if you consider that there is a universal energy that binds all things in the together and moves from person toperson, place to place. Different cultures have called this energy many names. Chi, Prana and Ki, vibes, life force- it doesn’t really matter .
So when you are passionate about what you do and you talk about yourself or what you do your energy is visible and attracts other people. Their magnetism- understanding the concept of energy is a key factor in successful networking.”

Excerpt from joint BLD and AWS network event on the 5th July 2007, sponsored by the Magic circle law firm, Slaughter & May at their offices. There were two different and excellent speakers, Rosalyn Breedy and Meena Heath.


For your invitation to a BNSW event – click here


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