By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

We were recently eating lunch at a Kaua`i eatery with a client and in walked one of our esteemed councilmen. “You from Kaua`i?” he asked the client. She answered that she had lived here years ago but that she was from O`ahu. “What part?” he asked. She answered and then he asked her if she was related to a man of her same last name. “Yes, he’s my cousin,” she said. The councilman then proceeded to tell in full detail all the things he knew about this cousin. “So you know him?” the client asked. “No, never heard of him,” joked the councilman.

It’s a typical conversation in Hawai`i (minus the joke perhaps). If we’re good at something here, it’s making connections with each other. This is invaluable in the business world. Remember that old game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?” The goal was to link any actor to Kevin Bacon through no more than six connections, where two actors were connected if they were in a movie together. The game stemmed from the larger concept of “six degrees of separation. Wikipedia explains the concept this way: person A only needs a maximum of six people in between them to connect them to person B, (supposing person A and B don’t know each other). Just like our client and the councilman.

Most Hawai`i locals are adept at playing our own game of “six degrees of separation.” The key is to maximize this skill for your business. This is very different than networking though. Networking more often weaves a net where none exists. Playing the six degrees game is about establishing real connections, a closeness that makes us care for each other more genuinely, increases our accountability to each other, helps us remember each other’s names, and makes us more willing to act on one another’s behalf. So, once you establish your connections with people, which you surely will, take the next step. Be creative in figuring out how your business can serve your calabash cousin’s cousin and know that your goodwill will come back around.