The Corporate Muse
Christmas! And welcome to The Corporate
Muse. We wish all of you the best this holiday season. This
month, we focus heavily on networking as it's the subject for both the main and marketing sections. The writing
segment offers a little missive on the use of verbs. And our newest addition, "Recognition," has really taken
off. This issue we introduce you to another of our subscribers. As always, we welcome suggestions and/or
Six Degrees of Separation
Did you happen to catch ABC's
Primetime on Dec 13th? In their new series, Basic Instinct, they tested the theory of "Six Degrees of Separation."
Popularized by the movie of the
same name, the basic tenet stems from the belief that you can reach anyone in the world through a chain of six people. In
other words, it would take six contacts or less for you to hook up with Brad Pitt or Angela Merkel (the chancellor of
On Primetime, two people from
Manhattan were asked to find an amateur boxer in Bedford Stuyvesant. The producers then turned it around and had the boxer
find a dancer on Broadway. All three contestants accomplished their goal in five associations or less. (The person
they were to find was considered the sixth.)
Does this prove the
theory? One random incident with the desired outcome probably doesn't offer enough evidence to substantiate such a
claim. But ABC's not alone in its experimentation.
The scientific studies of the idea
began in 1967 by a man named Stanley Milgram. (See: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0001297C-C5F8-1F32-9AD380A84189F2D7.)
He asked 96 people around the country to mail letters to several acquaintances. The recipients then forwarded those notes to
their associates (and so on), until they landed at a specified person in Boston. Milgram found it took an average of six
intermediaries to reach the target. But because his test group was so small, some authorities rejected his
Does it really work? That's what
researchers at Columbia University wanted to know. Since 2003, they've been conducting an experiment using email.
(You can read about it at: http://smallworld.columbia.edu/description.html. And participate in the study at: http://smallworld.columbia.edu/.) So far their findings have proved the theory to be correct.
Taking it a step further. You may have already heard about the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game,
(http://www.pen.k12.va.us/Div/Winchester/jhhs/math/lessons/stat/sixdeg.html). It supposes all celebrities are connected through their work and associations to Kevin Bacon. An
interesting hypothesis, but not particularly scientific.
Why does it work? One Cornell computer
scientist says the answer can be found through personal networking. "It's a collective phenomenon. Collectively the network knows
how to find people even if no one person does," said Jon Kleinberg, assistant professor of computer science, who published his
explanation in the Aug. 24 issue of the journal Nature. (http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/00/8.31.00/six_degrees_sep.html)
My husband, Andy, believes it's a numbers game based on how many people you know. Multiply that number by
itself five times (i.e., if you know 60 people, each of those 60 knows 60 more, and so on). The product of your
equation will be more than the population of the earth. So theoretically, you're only five multiples away from
everyone else on earth.
Either way, it's good news for those of us in business. You may think you don't know anyone. Your
contacts are your immediate family and long-time friends. But even casual acquaintances can be the key to finding new
clients, prospects or vendors.
Everybody knows someone. It's just a matter of connecting the links in the chain.
And that's the hard part. Finding the one person who can begin the sequence. You may have to do some
serious thinking, but if you want to meet the Queen of England, you already have the resources to do so. You just
might not be aware of it.
Most of us aren't interested in meeting royalty or celebrities. We do have a need to connect with others in
order to expand our businesses. As the old saying goes, "It's not what you know, but who you know."
Let me make it clear - I'm not suggesting you pounce on all your associates to see who they might know.
Rather think about all of those who might have connections, or access to connections, that could help promote your
This isn't predatory; it's survival. For many industries, referrals generate the best clients. It's
also reciprocal. You recommend a client to a colleague, she, in turn, passes on a good word for you.
This explains why every so often, out-of-the-blue, a prospect calls up and says you come highly recommended, even
though he can't tell you how or where he got your name.
In the long run, Six Degrees of Separation may be a natural progression. The more people you encounter, both
personally and professionally, the more likely you are to make the "right" connections for your industry. If, on the
other hand, you need to find someone in a particular profession (say a culinary indexer), then enlisting Six Degrees of
Separation your best choice.
If it's true we're all linked by as few as six cogs in a wheel; then making connections should be easy. Keep
networking and interacting with others and you will make those associations you need to grow your
© QuickSilver Copywriters 2006 -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes; http://www.quicksilvercopywriters.com/; mailto: email@example.com; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:
Riding The Waves To Better Networking
We stood six floors above the sand,
staring down at the waves rolling onto to the beach. I watched for the pure enjoyment of the experience, while my
husband observed the conditions and the surf.
Growing up in
Florida, he'd spent numerous hours out on the ocean, surfing with his buddies; something I knew nothing about. So I
asked him to explain.
As he schooled me on
the art of surfing, I saw a distinct correlation between "hanging ten" and networking.
"First you have to
check the conditions. See what direction the wind is blowing. It will tell you where you're most likely to catch
the best waves. If you don't know the pattern of the swells, you'll exhaust yourself treading water."
No matter what you
do, you need to do your homework. That's true for marketing, job hunting, networking, etc. If you randomly attend
seminars, without knowing the kinds of people who will be there, you'll probably strike out. You have to carefully
select your networking venues. You need to "check the conditions" before you paddle out. If you're not a
good fit for the audience, you'll just "tread water" talking to people who have no interest in your product or
I asked him how many
waves he'd ride in a day. "It depends on the conditions and if I'm prepared. Waves come in swells. It's when
the wave breaks that you can ride it. Because I surf without my glasses, I can't see very well. I often miss a
ride, because my vision is unclear."
Being ready when the
opportunity arises is essential. Keep your eyes open. Observe people. Watch for openings - breaks in the
waves - that will give you the likelihood of a "good ride." (Note: I don't mean taking someone for a ride, but
rather making yourself available in order to make important connections.)
"One of the biggest
problems," Andy told me, "Is everyone is looking for the big wave. Waiting for that one perfect ride instead of taking
advantage of several acceptable rides they could have on the waves near by."
This is true in
networking, too. Many inexperienced networkers congregate around the speakers or other experts. They hope to land
a "big wave," so pay no attention to the possibilities standing right next to them.
I think Sylvie
Fortin said it best, "I've seen people do this at seminars: only seek out certain people they think can further their
business. They head for the "gurus." It's quite remarkable the people they consider to be large fish. They
ignore everyone else. Yet the person they least expect might actually be the one who could help them the most.
When you attend seminars, don't always think about the person on the stage. Look around you. The people in the
audience offer the greatest potential."
Dollar Marketing Secrets, the long-awaited book we've coauthored with a "Who' Who" of veteran business
builders like Clayton Makepeace, JP Maroney, and Michel Fortin (to name just a few)... is now at the printers
and will be available soon.
As subscribers to
the Corporate Muse you're eligible for a special pre-release discount and over $300 in bonuses.
We'll let you
know as soon as it comes off the presses!
A recent video report illustrated the
importance of a well-used verb. The speaker mentioned how writers often try to spice up their copy with adjectives
Inserted judiciously in just the right places, modifiers add oomph to otherwise boring prose. But overuse of
them clutters the text.
Verbs, on the other hand, create scenes.
Here's an example. Which one do you think sounds better?
"He ran quickly to the corner store to pick up the extra-large package of Oreos for his pregnant wife."
"He raced out into the cold and jogged the sixteen blocks to the nearest store. His jacket whipped open as
the wind beat against his chest. But his wife, ripe with child, craved Oreos. And he'd crawl on broken glass to
get them for her."
I replaced "ran quickly" with raced and jogged. I also bettered the paragraph by including a descriptive
sentence using the verbs "whipped" and "beat." "Craved" and "crawl" produce images in the reader's
You will note I used four adjectives - "sixteen," "nearest," "ripe" and "broken." You can't completely
eliminate modifiers. They key is to select them with care. What, if anything, do they contribute to the
Whenever possible, choose an action verb - preferably one that paints a picture - over adverbs and adjectives. It will
enhance your writing and improve your success rate.
Sometime in the next couple of months, I'll be offering a free report entitled, Powerful Action
Verbs. Stay tuned to find out when it's available.
Dan Hansen of Trek Bicycle Stores of KC & STL
Raised on a farm, Dan spent most of his life in northeast Nebraska. After high school, he worked in
the machine tool industry as a machinist and tool die maker.
Several years later, as manager of a small manufacturing company that also owned holdings in several
restaurants, Dan became the general contractor whenever they built or remodeled a restaurant.
In 1997, the company decided to remove the brewpub from one of the restaurants and make it into a
stand-alone brewery. As usual, Dan ended up as the project supervisor. This lasted about four years. During
this time, Dan's love of cycling and desire to change careers merged.
Leaving family and friends, without any retail experience, Dan made a giant leap. He and his wife
moved from Lincoln to Kansas City and started the first Trek Bicycle Store.
In just three years, it's expanded to four locations. (Dan owns the shops with two partners.)
Their website (http://www.trekkc.com/) gives the public a chance to view their products and
informs them of upcoming cycling events.
Dan strongly believes in being committed to whatever he's doing. As passionate as he is about
cycling, he cautions that passion can blind you. Be realistic. "Don't fall in love with your inventory. It's
what the public wants, not what you want."
He's most proud of his staffing, but also finds it the most challenging. Too many applicants see the
job as a stepping-stone for bigger and better things, instead of viewing it as a career. He offers a full benefit package
to his managers. He also employs an open-book management system. It teaches his staff the nuts and bolts of running a
business and enlightens them on how their contribution affects the company.
Dan suggests these tips for new entrepreneurs:
Identify your core values. Not those of the business, but what you personally
Set goals for yourself (again make this personal).
Be honest in all your dealings with everyone - including yourself.
Know your strengths and your weaknesses. And don't be afraid to hire
Know the mechanics of running a business. Take the logical steps. Write out a business
plan. Force yourself to do it if you have to. (He can't emphasize this enough.)
Do your homework - on your industry and on business in general. Don't ever become
Thanks for reading. See you next month!
Andy & Shawn Catsimanes
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