360 Degrees Of Separation


A very famous study established a startling truth that any two people in the world can connect to each other by less than 6 hops. A letter written to an unconnected person across the globe took only six change of hands to be delivered. The term six degrees of separation signifies this phenomenon.

It is therefore not surprising that when you meet a stranger it is possible that you both may have a friend or contact in common. The person you exchanged cards with may know someone that you may know as well. This discovery is possible only if you make an attempt to find a common contact. And it is this attempt that can bring the world closer. Most do not make this attempt; the moment is lost forever and the world stays 360 degrees apart.

Technology can give you the tools to communicate but you have the power to use it for connecting the dots. You can make the world smaller by active networking and making that attempt to discover common connects. I share with you a few simple ways to make this a smaller world.

Discover Common Connects

When you meet a stranger and as the conversation matures make a sincere attempt to twirl your rolodex to mention people that your new-found friend may know. Try to pop a name in their industry as that would definitely have a higher chance of familiarity. Next try the communities you live in, the office building, the social circles and even try children’s school.

As you may have realized this is possible only if in your conversation you have first discovered a little more about the person you have just met. Knowing about their industry, where they live and work, the circles they frequent and the school and universities their children study at, are the basic information you have to gather before finding a match in your rolodex.

Tell your friend about it

When you have met a new person and found a common contact then make it a point to tell your common friend about your meeting. This reinforces the tripartite bond.
And if you meet or speak to a friend that you feel may be connected to your new contact then do not fail to bring that name up. Touching the two other corners of your triangle gives a higher chance of forming the tripartite bond.

Ear to the grapevine

Definitely, I am not asking you to partake in gossip, but keeping your ear close to the grapevine keeps you informed of the development and connections in your vicinity. This knowledge when shared begets more related knowledge and as your knowledge grows, so does your ability to find new connections.

Showing disinterest in what’s happening around you puts you in an ignorant orbit and thus taking you away from others. Staying in your shell is the surest way to increase the degree of separation.

Would you happen to know… ?

The people in the world can be at six degrees of separation or could be 360 degrees apart depending on what you do the next time you meet someone new.

Next time you meet someone, do not miss the opportunity to discover at least 2 or 3 common connects. Do not feel shy to say - ”Would you happen to know him?” The answer you get will reduce the degrees of separation.