4 Ways To Uncover The Power Of 2nd and 3rd Degree Connections In Your Network

Your success in life and business is a product of the relationships you have. Whatever you are trying to achieve, you will get there faster by leveraging your network.

If you are doubting the strength of your current network, there is good news. Your professional network at this very moment is stronger than you think it is.

Your first-degree connections include everyone you know. This can range from your immediate family all the way to people you haven’t spoken with in years. We have a finite amount of time in the day, and we can only actively maintain so many first-degree connections.

The people you know might not be in a position to help you directly. But your friends know people that you don’t know! These are your second-degree connections. Those friends of friends have friends as well, and those friends of friends of friends are your third-degree connections.

Take a moment to think about how many interconnections you have right now with people you don’t even know yet. Now you will start to see just how powerful your social network can be.

So your network is bigger than you think it is, but how do you tap into its power? Here are four ways to get started today:

Determine what you want and who can help you.

In order to meet the right people that can move you closer to your goals, you must force yourself to get specific. What would this person’s job title be? Where do they work? What are their skills and background? Take some time to actually write out who your ideal advocate would be.

Start to weave networking into your every day conversations.

Networking at its worst will feel like another chore on a list. The best way to begin making progress is to start small. Next time you start a conversation with someone, try simply asking for what you want.

For example, when someone asks you how you are doing, our default answer is “Fine, how about you?” This is a missed opportunity.

Instead, try this answer: “I’m doing great! Right now, I’m focused on meeting public speakers who have written a New York Times best-selling book.”

Then, stop talking. The best case scenario is, they are that person! This is unlikely. They could know someone and be willing to introduce you. If they don’t know anyone, that’s okay! Now you have planted a seed and they will think of you if they meet this person.

The worst thing that could happen is nothing. Then what did you lose? Nothing.

People love to help others because it feels good. You will be very surprised who has connections that can help you. Try not to default to mundane responses when connecting with someone. And don’t be afraid to mention what you want.

Use social media to understand your second and third degree connections.

Social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook make networking almost effortless. Think of these websites as huge databases of people you can search through. You can quickly find people who are in a position to help you.

Once you have identified people who can help you, then you can begin to look for relationship links in your social network. If you have not yet done this before, then it will be a very eye opening experience. In fact, most people have never looked at their network through this lens before!

Ask for introductions!

Finally, be deliberate about asking your friends and acquaintances for introductions to the specific people in the specific titles and companies you targeted. You will be surprised how many people will be excited and more than happy to provide introductions!

Getting a warm introduction to someone will be much more powerful than contacting someone cold. People are more willing to spend time with someone that comes “verified” by someone they trust.

Building and maintaining your professional and social network takes time. If you’re not happy with your progress towards your goals, then start taking action and weaving these tactics into your daily habits today. If you ask for something specific, from the right people, you might be surprised by how much you receive!


Olivia Gamber is an Organizational Psychologist who specializes in helping underutilized Gen-Y professionals advance their career at Occupational Olivia. If you’re interested in her free 5-day video course to learn how to get unstuck and get noticed then sign up here.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @TheOliviaGamber