Networking: A personal approach
Networking is a great way to develop new business opportunities. Business networking events enable you to meet new people. You can find new clients and business contacts at these events. There are people who thrive at these events, whilst others find them daunting. The good news is that this is not the only way to expand your network.
Your current network
People you already know (and people they know) can help you to expand your network. They already know you and trust you. They are therefore more likely to recommend you. Your family, friends and colleagues can help you to kick start a new business or career. They do this by telling people they know about your business and your skills. This can give you vital support and is very helpful in the early stages of your career or business.
The six degrees of separation:
The six degrees of separation is an urban myth. It suggests that we are only six connections away from any person on the planet (which is seven billion people). We can use the six degrees of separation to help us to understand how people are connected to one another.
The documentary ‘Connected: The power of six degrees (How Kevin Bacon cured cancer)’ by Simon Nash (2008) investigates the six degrees of separation. The filmmakers give a package to forty people who live in many different places in the world. The package is for Professor Marc Vidal, who is a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School in the Department of Genetics. The participants do not know the professor and they cannot look him up on the internet. They must give the package to someone who they know personally, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who knows Professor Marc Vidal.
The documentary follows the journey of the forty packages. The filmmakers want to find out if it arrives at Professor Marc Vidal’s office. They also want to know how many steps it takes for the package to arrive.
A woman who lives in a small town in Kenya is given one of the packages. She hands it to her aunt who lives in Nairobi. Her aunt then sends the package to someone she knows in New York. They send it to someone in their network who lives in Cambridge, England. Next the package is sent to a man who works at Harvard University. He knows Professor Marc Vidal personally. This is the first package to arrive at his office. The package took six steps to travel from a village in Kenya to Professor Marc Vidal at Harvard University. Two more packages arrive at his office and in an average of six steps (Nasht, S. 2008).
Different types of networks
The filmmakers also report that many social networks are closed circuits, when everyone knows everyone else. However most of us know someone who moves away and has new networks (Nasht, S. 2008). The woman living in a Kenyan village mostly knows people who also live in her village. However her aunt now lives in Nairobi and has international connections.
Networks that have closed circuits (where everyone knows everyone else) can be very helpful for small business. People often recommend a business or product to their friends and family. Word of mouth is a very effective marketing tool. Small networks can have a very loyal client base and brand ambassadors will help a business to succeed.
The filmmakers observe that most people have relatively small networks of a few hundred people. However the film also shows that some individual have very large networks. Groups and people that have extensive connections are ‘network hubs’ (Nasht,S. 2008). You can multiply your own network by linking with people and groups that are network hubs.
It is likely that you are already connected to many network hubs. Business network hubs may include your workplace, a professional association or college. You may also be members of network hubs in your community such as sporting clubs or recreation groups.
People also connect with others on social media which are also network hubs. It is easy to support people we know on social media. This can be done by giving someone a recommendation and by liking or sharing their posts.
Networking is about connecting with people and building positive relationships. The people in your network are also members of your community. We can support one another and help to create abundance for us all.
Map your network:
A networking map is a useful tool. It can be used in both career coaching and business coaching. A networking map helps you to identify network hubs in your personal and professional life. It also highlights professional opportunities in your current network.
You are welcome to make an appointment for a business coaching or career coaching session. You can create your own networking map during the coaching session. A networking map helps you to develop an action plan to expand your network. This will help you to create opportunities for your career or business.
You will receive a $50 discount off your first business coaching or carer coaching session if you mention you have read this article.
Essence of Life Coaching
Diploma of Life Coaching
Contact: 0412 737 309
About Robyn Frank
My interest in natural medicine began in my early twenties. As a result I studied massage and aromatherapy. I opened my own private practice a few years later.
I was given the opportunity to work as an aromatherapy lecturer for the Australian College of Natural Medicine in 1998. It was here that I was awarded an Academic Blue Award for Excellence. Whilst I was teaching I began to work as an Aromatherapy Consultant in Aged Care facilities.
Next I studied Life Coaching and started a new business called Essence of Life Coaching in 2005. My business offers life coaching, career coaching and wellness coaching in Melbourne. I have also facilitated business coaching workshops and offer business coaching for people in the wellness industry.
Nasht, S (2008). ‘Connected: The Power of Six Degrees (How Kevin Bacon cured cancer)’, Australia: Essential Media and Entertainment.