6 Degrees of SeparationSep 12, 2023
6 degrees of separation
by Vern Schellenger, CEO Contacts Count
Researchers from Bar-Ilan University prove there are just six degrees of separation in a social network. That was the headline in the SciTechDaily publication on 8/20/23. The article went on to explain:
“Do you know someone who knows someone? We’ve all delved into this thought experiement, marveling at the idea that in the vast web of humanity, random people can be linked through very small chains of acquaintances – typically around six. Recently, a group of researchers from across the globe discovered that this magic of six degrees can be explained mathematically. The intriguing phenomenon, they show, is linked to another social experience we all know too well – the struggle of cost vs. benefit in establishing new social ties.”
While the “magic of six degrees” can be explained mathematically, I am not so sure by connecting with 6 individuals I will be introduced to the King of England. There are in fact examples of this type of connection but they are the exception not the rule. So much depends on the strength of the relationship from one person to another. And the objective is not simply to pursue a large number of connections but to obtain the right connections.
At Contacts Count we described the strength of a relationship by the type of conversation(s) you have with another person. Was the conversation an accident? A random event? Is the person an acquaintance? An associate – someone who work with or someone who belongs to the same group you do?
The more conversations you have with the same person the better you get to know one another. You each begin to experience the character and competence of each other. And if you have enough positive conversations over time you become advocates for one another. We define an advocate as someone who sends opportunities your way, speaks up for you and believes in your character & competence. Advocates create trust based mutually beneficial relationships with one another. They reach out to help one another in any way they can – they make an introduction to a new contact, they send along an article, they provide advice or help solve problems together.
With the right advocates in your network you increase the odds that there are only 6 degrees of separation and almost anyone else in the world.
How many advocates do you have in your network?
About the Author
Vern Schellenger, President and CEO of Contact Count.
Contacts Count is the premier coaching and training organization dedicated to helping you use the power of human connection to transform your career, business, and life.
Vern is dedicated to empowering professionals and entrepreneurs with the strategies, skills and tools to master networking (even if they are introverted and don’t like networking events). His vast experience includes such roles as HR VP and CLO at Dunkin Donuts, VP & Director of Professional Services at Lee Hecht Harrison, and SR VP of Human Resources at American Bankers Association.