The building blocks of a great network aren’t purpose-driven meetings — they’re casual encounters and agenda-less coffee catch-ups. As often as possible, say yes to invitations, even if it’s not clear what you’ll get out of them. You may know the person’s occupation, industry, and job title — but you don’t know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don’t know who they know. Of course you can’t take every meeting nor should you enter long, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet. But regularly connecting without a reason or purpose — with people who seem to be doing interesting things — can have unexpected benefits.
Adapted from “Never Say No to Networking” by Kathryn Minshew.