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The True Essence of Networking: Beyond Handshakes and Business Cards

Networking Event

Walking into the bustling room, I could feel the unmistakable energy of another networking event. Everywhere, business cards exchanged hands, quick introductions were made, and the promise of potential collaborations filled the air. Yet, beneath the surface, a crucial element seemed amiss: genuine connection.

The Flashy Facade of Networking Events

Modern networking events often mimic the hustle and bustle of a marketplace. Many attendees aim to cast a wide net, aspiring to gather as many contacts as possible. However, the follow-up emails the next day often reveal a lack of depth: "Hi, we met yesterday. If you know anyone who needs my service, do let them know." But can one genuinely endorse someone they've barely spent a moment with?

Coworking: The New Age Networking

Contrast this with coworking spaces, where instead of short-lived introductions, lasting relationships are nurtured. Here, members meet daily, share successes, collaborate on projects, and even tackle challenges together. Over time, the nuances of each member's strengths, passions, and values become evident, laying the foundation for genuine trust.

The Exponential Power of Connections

Microsoft Research Labs once revealed a fascinating insight: on average, any two people on Earth are separated by merely 6.6 degrees.

To understand the magnitude of this connectedness, we must turn to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar's theory, commonly referred to as "Dunbar's number." He proposed that humans can maintain a stable social relationship with about 150 people at most. Considering this:

Direct Connections (1st Degree):

If each member in a coworking space is directly connected to around 150 people:

70 members x 150 connections/member = 10,500 direct connections

Connections of Connections (2nd Degree):

Considering each of those 10,500 contacts also has their 150 unique connections:

10,500 contacts x 150 connections/contact = 1,575,000 second-degree connections

Further Connections (3rd Degree):

Extending the same logic to the second-degree connections:

1,575,000 contacts x 150 connections/contact = 236,250,000 third-degree connections

LinkedIn’s research further emphasizes the power of such networks. Their members with just 400 connections, on average, tap into over 500,000 professionals when considering second and third-degree networks.

Concluding Thoughts

While traditional networking events have their merits, it’s essential to recognize that the future of networking emphasizes depth over breadth. Coworking spaces, embodying this very philosophy, are not just hubs for their immediate members but gateways to expansive networks.

In networking, it's not merely about direct contacts but the vast web one can access through them. So, when considering where to plant your professional roots, choose a space where genuine relationships thrive. After all, in the interconnected world of today, your network’s potential is only as limited as your environment.


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