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How to Network (AKA increase circle of influence) for Professional Success: Tips and tricks for expanding your professional network.

I'm not too fond of the term networking - given it seems to mean meeting people with a purpose. Though there is nothing wrong with that, it often sounds transactional. So, here I am, thinking out loud about ideas to effectively expand your circle of influence. Comment and let me know if you found any of these ideas helpful.

**People tell me I am a networker; I say I enjoy meeting new people!

    1. Please do not do it for (an immediate) purpose as much as possible! It is perfectly ok to reach out to your circle for help - however, not immediately after connecting if possible!

    2. It would be best if you worked to expand your circle continually or whenever you have time. The worst time to do it is when you need something, i.e., looking for a job or looking for whatever

    3. I enjoy meeting diverse groups of people- so I try to meet across the spectrum, direct work-related, anyone in d professional world, my school alums, someone in my neighborhood, ad-hoc classes/courses I do, folks I meet during hiking et al

    4. I have also made interesting professional connections in the coffee shops when I ended up sharing tables with others due to space constraints.

    5. I like to learn about new things- so I go for professional events relating to my role and anything interesting such as AI/ML/ robotics, et al. I meet a few interesting folks everywhere.

    6. Try to find places where you could be potentially unique. When I was in the biz school, I would sometimes go to undergrad events, where I was one of d few biz students. It is easy to stand out in such situations. Same applies to any events

    7. There is no point in continuing to add people to your network if you do not stay in touch. Find opportunities to say hello periodically, birthday/Christmas/NY, etc., wishes, share some relevant info, update them on yourself, etc.

    8. Do not feel overwhelmed. Many of us may be a bit uncomfortable reaching out to new folks; however more you do it- the more comfortable it gets.

    9. If you are doing an online outreach, please please please be thoughtful and customize your message. No spray and pray, please!

    10. Practice a short pitch about yourself for in-person events and think of a few questions you could ask anyone.

    11. It's okay if you say something silly/stupid to someone at an event because you were nervous. Chances are no one will remember. And even if they do, they would be 1-2 out of 100's or 1000's of people you would meet over the years.

    12. I try to find ways to connect different people I meet at an event. For example, I met someone at an event building a software product for investments and another person who recently started his investment fund. I introduced them.

    13. I never add people on LinkedIn without a note, even if I just met them. This helps when I need to search for them later or try to remember how I met them.

    14. It is ok to fire some folks in your network which no longer need to be there. For ex: posting silly comments on your posts, reaching out to you for random help often, reaching out with mass messages et al.

    15. It is OK if you do not like to talk to new people and dread it. Everyone does not need to have a big circle. You can, and you will still have a beautiful, meaningful, and successful life.

    16. Post in forums such as notepd, medium, LinkedIn groups, et al. More you are out there, the more people know you. You also end up knowing/meeting people you could not have met through your usual networking

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