How networking and Kevin Bacon can enhance your career
Even if you didn’t like him in Footloose, Kevin Bacon and the Six Degrees of Separation theory show us that, like it or not, networking and connections are essential practices in modern business and for the furthering of your career.
The six degrees of Kevin Bacon
The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a game based on the theory that everyone is no more than six steps, or introductions, away from any other person in the world. So essentially, through a chain of ‘friend of a friend’ assertions, anyone can be connected.
So, what does this mean for business?
A chain of introductions can only stem from individuals’ network groups intertwining, through trust and relationship building, to create a melting pot of creative and intelligent people sharing ideas and connections.
Effective business networking then occurs when these individuals become endorsements for one another, making the old adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know” completely relevant and successful.
3 reasons why you need to network:
- People enjoy doing business with people they know, like, and respect. So, if a professional friend has recommended you, employers and clients will be more likely to trust you and your work.
- Searching for a job can be an arduous and time-consuming task. However, looking into your network and using contacts to extend your search can significantly reduce that effort and increase the chances of finding employment. With the development of online social networks, your personal collection of contacts is considerably larger than those of job hunters and should be fully utilised in your pursuit of work.
- Understanding how you can tap into the benefits of networking should become an indispensable life skill, one that can overflow and be applied to other areas of your personal and social life.
Staying in touch
It’s important to develop your own networking plans and style. Maybe you excel in one-on-one coffee meetings? Or perhaps you prefer large networking events to meet new colleagues? Either way, by thinking long term and nurturing and building relationships with the people you meet, you can set yourself up with a supportive and rewarding network from which future business may arise.
Create these relationships by showing authenticity of connection; remember important dates, anniversaries, how you met, and whom you met each connection through.
Think about how you can network at work: who is Sandra down the hall? Take the time to find out who the people around you are and what they do, after all — they all work for the same business as you do. It’s a small world, and anybody can add value to your growing network.
Grow your network
In today’s socially driven work, who you know can be just as important as your résumé, and having someone recognise your name in a professional setting is invaluable.
If you can consider networking as an extension of your social life, and allow it to grow naturally, it becomes not a chore, but a positive and exciting venture of exchange and learnings. After all, you never know where, or from whom, your next big opportunity will come from.