This is a rehash of an old SoG Letter that I wrote way back in Jan 2019. Original here.
So, what is ‘Loose Connections‘?
There are two kinds of connections that you make when you network professionally.
A, Strong bonds.
These are people that you implicitly trust. These are the people that will have your back in case you are stuck. These will stay with you through thick and thin. These typically are people who you grew up with, the ones that say next to you in college, the ones that you hang out with on a daily basis. And so on and so forth.
B, Loose connections.
These are people who are at a 2nd or 3rd-degree of separation from you. These are the people that you wave at, at the water cooler in your office. These are the ones that you know live in your building but aren’t really friends with. These are the ones that you respect but for some reason, you’ve kept a distance.
So why do I talk about loose connections?
I really, sincerely, honestly, dil se believe that these loose connections are more powerful than your strongest bonds when it comes to pushing professional / work agendas.
At least in my life, I have seen these loose connections giving me more work, leading me to more opportunities and opening more doors for me than the best of my friends with their best intentions could.
What about you? Which “kind” of connections has helped you in the past?
And as I go along, I am actively working on creating a super large pool of these loose connections. You know, like they, I know a guy that knows a guy? That!
And how do you forge these loose connections?
Simple. Go out and seek such opportunities.
For example, a few days ago, I went out with a few folks that I connected with on Twitter. In that group of people that hung out together, we had three travel enthusiasts, one legal expert, one stand-up comic, a videographer, a digital nomad, and one right-hand person for one of the leading fashion designers in the country. It was an eclectic bunch and the conversations had the best that I’ve ever had in life!
And how do you create opportunities?
Here are three steps that I have used in the past.
1. Identify the thing that you want to work on. Identify the top 1% of people in that trade. And identify the kind of work you want to do.
For example, I am working on this film these days. And for that, I need to know EVERYONE that is in the trade that is in the top 1%. And because I want to be on the business side of films, rather than looking at people like Amitabh Bachchan, I am keen on talking to people like, say, Manish Mundra. Or Sandip Bhargava.
2. Look at the kind of people that these people talk to. Get into a conversation with those people.
These Manishs and Sandips of the world would be busy and may have very limited time to give. There is absolutely zero chance that these people would talk to me. But the people that work for, work with, work under these people would be a little more approachable. And thus I can get into a conversation with these guys a tad more easily.
3. Add value.
This is the most important part. Rather than mere chit-chatting with them and getting into a social conversation, can you add value? Look for things that they are stuck with. Open those doors. You know, be that loose connection that could help them untangle things that they are grappling with. And don’t do this with the intention of getting something in return. Add genuine value to people. Be of real help. Open doors. And then sit back and let the magic happen.
Do let me know what you think.
Oh, and read Go Giver. Really.
And while you are at it, do read how you can kickstart your freelancing career in 2023.