Tuesday, October 13, 2009

6 Degrees of Separation

I love the concept that every one of us knows each other in 6 steps of less. The idea of six degrees of separation has been around since shortly after WWI under different names. The mathematical models have changed, depending on the research performed, and has included email/internet testing in recent years. The number isn't perfect, but a rough idea of how things stand.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, six degrees of separation says we know everyone on the planet in six or fewer steps, where your acquaintances are step one, their acquaintances step two, and so forth. So, how can we use this data personally?

First, I recommend being nice to everyone you see. They probably know someone that knows you, if in your local community, and only two or three steps for someone regionally or nationally. People on the other side of the planet are a mere six or seven steps away, so be nice when on vacation, too.

The importance of six degrees is even larger for businesses. People talk. We know that. People spread a bad experience faster and more often than a positive one. Do good work and ask your clients to spread the good vibes.

A group of people that needs buzz more than just about anyone is authors. Authors can't see every person that will purchase her book. Understanding six degrees of separation plays well here. Imagine: Author has a friendly gathering at her local, small town library. Let's say 100 people show up. Author gives a wonderful presentation, is personable, asks guests to buy her book, and politely reminds guests to spread the words to their friends. Something so simple can get the snowball rolling.

I haven't advertised my practice in over ten years; yellow pages don't count. Still, I acquire 3-4 new clients per month during the summer and 30-40 during tax time. A cordial attitude goes a long way. Be nice and people will talk... and talk... and talk...

Before you know it, you can have a real business or tons of book sales. Smile big.

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