By Gayle Hallgren-Rezac and Darcy Rezac
Our columns at BC Jobs focus on using networking to get a job or put you on the right trajectory for your career path. But recent research published in the prestigious journal Biologist found that the number of hours per day humans interact has fallen by two thirds in recent decades, from 6 hours in 1987 to 2 hours in 2007. Walt Kelly’s famous quote,”We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us” seems very appropriate. We are addicted to our devices, our ‘CrackBerries’, iPhones and multifunction cell phones. The result is we are all walking around in these weird personal bubbles. Yes, we are making more face-to-screen connections, but fewer face-to-face.
You could argue that “I can talk to more people, have shorter messages and do it 24/7 around the world with face-to-screen contact.” But here’s what happens, we move through the world in a bubble, tuned out to the people around us. A typical example is how people travel from point A to B. They leave their house, get in a cab and get on their cell phone. They get to the airport and check in. Most times there’s never a real conversation—unless it is WestJet. As they walk through the airport they have their phone glued to their ear. Once on the aircraft, they nod to the person next to them and open their laptop and never say another word. They get off the plane, travel through the airport phone attached to ear and into a cab, texting. The first time they really say anything to anyone is when they are at their destination. This process could have taken 12 to 18 hours and never once was real contact made with another human being. Pretty amazing.
A woman starts up a conversation with her seatmate and subsequently she is asked to join the board of directors of her seatmate’s company. A few years later she becomes chair of this company—a large multinational pipeline. Would it have happened if she hadn’t started that conversation? No.
A woman is standing in line at one of the ubiquitous airport Tim Hortons coffee shops. She steps on the foot of the guy behind her. She feels bad and wants to buy his coffee for him. Fast forward: they are now married.
So best advice: become more aware of The Bubble. Pop it more often and see what happens when you engage another person in conversation. Keep one other thought in the back of your mind and it’s that once to engage another person you have just connected with their network. Imagine the potential! A recent article on How to Make Your Own Luck by Ben Sherwood describes the exponential potential this way: “A typical person knows about 300 people on a first-name basis. So if you go to a party and meet someone new, he explains, you’re “only two handshakes away from 300 times 300 people; that’s 90,000 new possibilities for a new opportunity, just by saying hello.”
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