Do you know the play of Kevin Bacon's six grades? A few years ago it became popular as a party game. The idea was to create people who have ever worked with Kevin Bacon in Hollywood as much as possible. According to the theory, Kevin Bacon was associated with any actor within six degrees. In his book The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell points out that the actual "Bacon number" is somewhat less than four steps and Rod Steiger is actually the most affiliated actor in less than three steps. Strangely, all-star-length actors like John Wayne, who appeared in more than 160 movies in his life, were not as easy as Kevin Bacon, who was reliably a young actor when the game was released. How is that possible? Even better, why do you care?

Wayne was featured in several films like Bacon, but almost all of them were Western. Bacon, however, appeared in different genres. That meant that Bacon could be associated with people playing in comedy, drama, suspense thrillers, and yes, Westerners. Virtually Wayne's relationship with Western people was inextricably linked.

Here's your relationship with you. When you are building a network, are you a productive "Western actor" or are you mixing up, do you meet many people from different groups? If you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce and you are not a member of another group, you will only go to pigeons.

Effective network builders know they have to be a member of the chamber. But they also know they have to be a member of another organization. This extends the multitude of people who meet and enlarge their networks and possible reference sources. All of us must be able to recognize a limited number of people. But networking not only has our acquaintances but we all know us. If you are a member of a Chamber and you know these people, the number of people you are likely to encounter is limited to the "network" of people in your chamber. But if you are a participant in more than one group, you are in the chamber and in the other group. The network is expanding because it is not just a "Western player" or; you're an actor now.

If the network does not bring the results you need to know, consider joining a different group and meeting people outside the direct network. This is one of the most important ways to replenish the network and eliminate the need for cold calling.

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