Many years ago Will Smith, prior to his Men in Black days, starred in a movie called “Six Degrees of Separation.” I remember at the time thinking it was a pretty good movie and memorable. In a pre social media world it was a social commentary on how small the world around us really is and how we are all connected. After two recent incidences involving people with whom I was interviewing or working with, it struck home once again how connected we are. In one, I interviewed a woman who it turned out, actually knew the publisher of the magazine for whom I was working. In the other, the mother of one of my daughter’s besties invited me to attend an event featuring her old high school buddy – whom it turned out I’d had the pleasure of meeting to discuss business with just one week prior. In the words of a song “it’s a small world after all.”
What these experiences emphasized to me is the ongoing theme of the importance of networking. It seems to be something universally loved or hated. For some it’s intimidating, others see it as too “salesy” and still others both love and embrace the challenge of walking into a room full of strangers and starting a conversation. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, if it’s of any comfort to the haters, invariably I would argue that within just a few minutes at any event, chances are you will connect with someone who knows someone who knows you. It makes having a conversation easier as you discuss your mutual common interests. It also means we truly are all connected and that’s why the value of networking and a willingness to act as a referral source for one another, cannot be overstated.
What six degrees of separation also means to me is that more often than not, networking often doesn’t take place at a networking event at all. Rather, it is when you are “out and about” in the world at large, conducting business, working, or attending a charitable event. Heck, it even happens in hockey arenas and over the bleachers at your kids soccer game. Networking is about relationships. Period.
Here’s what I mean: In the example of the subject of my magazine article, not only did she know the publisher (helping cement our burgeoning business relationship) but the more I chatted with her, the more it became clear how we could be of service to one another. I knew several people that might be in a position to help the organization with whom she was working and she in turn was able to put me in contact with a great potential opportunity for my future development. That’s networking in action and we weren’t even at a networking event, just having a coffee while she shared her story with me.
Networking isn’t about handing out as many cards as you possibly can – it’s about fostering a relationship with others, getting to know them on a personal level and even if you aren’t in a business that is mutually beneficial, you might know or be connected with someone who is. If you’ve taken the time to develop that one to one connection – your referral is guaranteed because you know, like and trust the person and in this world – that’s very valuable. Not to mention, just like in the movie – you never know who might know whom! It’s a small world indeed. Business can come from anywhere and we are all just six degrees (at most) of separation away from one another. Make sure you are always acting with integrity and not just with your own, but with others best interests at heart too. Then you can sit back and watch how opportunity will come your way!
As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed? Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.
Writing Right For You
Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!