Legacy: 550 years of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

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Jasdeep Singh Chhabra, Preety Bains, Ramzy Kaur and Reshpaul Chahal were hosted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for an unforgettable trip to visit three Takhts: Sri Patna Sahib in Bihar, followed by Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar and Sri Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra, and to learn of the importance of the Sikh culture to society in celebration of 550 years of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

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On November 5th 2019, four YSPN Executives flew to India for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

As part of a delegation of 38 representatives from 11 countries, we engaged in a seminar on the ‘Teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Sikhism’s Contribution in Universal Wellbeing’. The key focus of the seminar was Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s three pillars of ‘kirat karo’, ‘vand chhako’ and ‘naam japo’, which hold significance to us as core values of YSPN. The seminar was followed by a visit to three of the five prominent Takhts: Sri Patna Sahib in Bihar, Sri Harimandir Sahib in Punjab and Sri Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra.

We began the trip in New Delhi, where we met His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, followed by a guided tour of the Rashtrapati Bhawan as an introduction to the conference, and a symbol of the importance of the occasion to India itself. His Excellency remarked on the domestic and worldwide impact of the Sikh community, the value of this conference in connecting the Diaspora to its ancestral heritage, and encouraged all delegates to take the lessons from this event and practice them in our respective homes.

While in Delhi we engaged in a seminar on Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s teachings, where we had the opportunity to interact with two of the seminar’s most notable speakers, Lieutenant-General PJS Pannu and Dr Surjit Kaur Jolly.

The concept of Sewa was a key focus for both speakers at the seminar. Lt Gen Pannu emphasised ‘kirat karo’ through a detailed recollection of the committed service of Sikhs in India’s military; while Dr Jolly reflected on ‘vand chhako,’ commenting on the progressive nature of Sewa in the 21st century.

Lt Gen Pannu explained how we can use sewa as a means of serving our community, and to build a home and heritage. Lt Gen Pannu dedicated his military career to practising and sharing the values of ‘kirat karo,’ to build a positive and lasting legacy in the hopes of inspiring our future generations to honour our heritage and feel a sense of community in India. As an example of his dedication to serving professionally for his community, he shared a meaningful story from his military service in which he went above and beyond his professional duties to save the life of a young child after he had been severely injured during a protest in Kashmir.

Dr Jolly, our second speaker emphasised the progressive nature of Sikhism and the need for our practice of sewa to keep up with contemporary needs and mechanisms. She discussed what ‘vand chhako’ meant, its value to society, and elaborated that we should use all forms of technology as we practice sewa.

Both speakers’ observations and reflections were insightful. Lt Gen Pannu’s desire to use his role to serve, and as an opportunity to connect with the community and contribute to the formation of its identity, are reflections that echo YSPN’s mission of professional sewa here in Australia and New Zealand. And Dr Jolly’s insight that sewa must keep pace with changes in society parallels the discussion that YSPN started at Elevate 2019 about what it means in a rapidly changing world. It was inspiring for us to hear such esteemed professionals validate our mission in a thoughtful and personal way.

On the second leg of our trip, we commenced our journey of visiting three Takhts, starting with Sri Patna Sahib in Bihar, followed by Sri Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar and Sri Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra.

The delegates unanimously agreed that being exposed to the history of Sikhism by visiting each Takht was an indescribable experience; one that was felt viscerally across the group. It was an extremely profound moment for us as Sikhs living abroad, to return to India and witness the legacy of our Guru’s carried on through people of all religious backgrounds coming together, in service of their fellow human beings.

Sharing the journey with Sikhs from across the world was a profound experience for all of us. It allowed us to appreciate the incredible history of Sikhism through varied perspectives, share in our common humanity, and the challenge of creating a sense of belonging in our new homes, away from our ancestral heritage, while trying to maintain an important legacy and pass down our values.

Before this trip, some of us felt a sense of isolation, a disconnect from other parts of our community through distance and time. However, getting to know each of the delegates closely over eight days we came to the profound realisation that we are all connected together by Sikhism’s central message of unity and selfless service to others. And that our shared experiences and diverse perspectives mean we can work together to amplify this message globally. We learned for example about the scale of the network and connections built at the ASEES conference in Malaysia; we learned about the work happening in the Netherlands and Canada to connect the community more closely to its spiritual roots and prevent a tragic loss of generation; and the work happening in South Africa to share the spirit of Sikhi with the broader African community. This exposure to the important work globally and its connection to the work we do in Australia and New Zealand at YSPN has opened our eyes to opportunities to work tightly with other communities in the Sikh diaspora and left us with optimism about the future of Sikhs globally.

The opportunity to join in this celebration over 8 days was transformative for all delegates. We learned that Guru Nanak’s values were endorsed by no less than the Indian Head of State, and their impact recognised; we experienced the wonder of people coming together in a spirit of sewa across the three Takhts in India, while connecting with our fellow delegates from across the world, creating lifelong friendships, and bridges to helping one another as we navigate similar challenges in our respective homes. We thank the Indian Council for Cultural Relations for the opportunity to participate in this profound experience and look forward to building on the foundations established on the most auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Disclosure: The trip for YSPN delegates was funded by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and inaugurated by ICCR president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Padma Shri Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal and ICCR Director General Akhilesh Mishra. Delegates from Australia, Germany, Canada, the UK, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Italy, South Africa and The Netherlands were present on the trip.

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YSPN Sydney Presents: Transforming Your Harshest Critic

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YSPN hosted Benaifer Bhadha on 26th August 2019, who explored how we can use and harness our inner critic to develop oneself and be a more effective leader.

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YSPN hosted Benaifer Bhadha, a clinical psychotherapist, workshop facilitator and performance artist from New York, on Monday 26 August 2019 for an interactive workshop about techniques to transform your inner critic into your inner champion. Bhadha delved into the concept of Internal Family Systems to describe how an individual’s inner critic is usually developed during childhood as a means to protect them from shame or failure. Attendees were asked to reflect on what their inner critic says to them today and to transform this by being more conscious of why and when it shows up.  

The workshop also entailed lessons on the power of listening and how it is one of the most overlooked skills in leadership today. Attendees learned that listening without judgement and without imposing solutions upon others is essential to create meaningful connections in their personal and professional lives. 

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YSPN Perth: Secrets to Standing Out in a Dynamic Economy

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YSPN Perth hosted an event featuring 3 expert panellists on navigating the changing economic landscape, and the steps we must take to survive and succeed in the future

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Thank you for supporting us at our latest panel event at our new venue Flux on 13 August 2019. We heard from three knowledgable and experienced panelists, Alana Sullivan, Danny Dellaca and Kiru Thangadurai on the topic of standing out in a dynamic economy, hosted by expert facilitator Baldeep Bhullar.

We learnt a great deal from the panellists in three summarised categories:

Job Hunting

  • Ensure that you have an up to date LinkedIn profile with relevant keywords
  • Have a relevant up to date CV which talks to both your achievements and responsibilities
  • Check to make sure your salary expectation is in line with market

Professional Development

  • Having both a mentor and a sponsor will help you develop professionally and personally. A senior level sponsor will enable further career opportunities through advocacy on your behalf.
  • Utilising platforms like LinkedIn Learning or EdX can give you cheap or free professional development in your own or employers time. This can enable a potential career change or higher role in an organisation.
  • Saying "yes" to more opportunities will enable you to gain more experience in a variety of fields and will give you more potential to take on additional scope or develop your career further, than if you are very selective with opportunities.

Networking

  • Having a good network can be a great boost when looking for that new job or developing your career as many jobs are not advertised and may come through recommendation
  • Given that you want to maximise the 'bang for your buck' in networking, it's best to be selective as to what events you attend. If you are not getting value out of the events, the take a more tactical approach and be selective around where you spend your time.
  • Networking is give and take. There is opportunity to both learn and teach and ensuring that there is mutual value to networking is essential for it to be of value.
  • Feel free to carry on the conversation and view our photos here. Thank you to the YSPN WA team and Husveena Singh for the superb photography!

And most of all, thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at our next event which will be launched shortly!

We are always seeking feedback and your feedback is essential in shaping the way we direct our efforts as volunteers at YSPN. Feel free to reply to comment below or email info@yspn.org.au with any feedback - we are ever grateful for your comments.

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YSPN Sydney: Adapt and Thrive – Riding the Wave of Change

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YSPN hosted four speakers (Alyse Sue, Penny Wong, Peter Xing, Vivek Bharadwaj) across industries to explore what Artificial Intelligence and technology meant for industries in 2019, and what we can do to prepare.

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On Wednesday 17 July 2019, YSPN hosted its first ever debate exploring how technology will disrupt and enhance the way we work in the future.

YSPN was honoured to host Peter Xing, co-founder of Transhumanism Australia who shared work of Transhumanism Australia and discussed many exciting ways AI will enrich our lives in the future. Along with Peter Xing, YSPN also hosted three other distinguished speakers, Alyse Sue – Co-founder of Genomix, Vivek Bharadwaj – Data Analyst at the Iconic and Penny Wong – Co-founder of Radmis who all participated in a structured debate on the question ‘Should AI be accountable for its actions?’ The affirmative side argued AI should be accountable because users need the be assured that algorithms used in AI are explainable before they are implemented. Explainability of AI decisions will give company executives and users the confidence they need to further implement AI into their work.

The negative side raised the argument that AI technologies should be considered through a lens of product liability where the company executives are the ones who should ultimately to be held accountable. They further explored questions of how humanistic traits such as ethics, religion and gender should be imparted upon technology to make it more representative of a human. 
A key take away that both sides of the debate raised was that for young professionals to adapt and thrive in the new working world, we must not only embrace technology but we must champion it.

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YSPN Brisbane: Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceiling and Stereotypes

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On 26 June 2019, YSPN Brisbane held its marquee event for 2019, YSPN Talks: Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes. This sold-out event brought together over 50 attendees and featured an incredibly inspiring all-women panel comprising Pam Bains, CFO & Group Executive, Strategy of Aurizon; Ratha Nabanidham, Partner at Ashurst; and Jatinder Kaur, Director at JK Diversity Consultants.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from each speaker about their unique career journey, the opportunities and challenges they faced and how they got to where they are today.

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On 26 June 2019, YSPN Brisbane held its marquee event for 2019, YSPN Talks: Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes. This sold-out event brought together over 50 attendees and featured an incredibly inspiring all-women panel comprising Pam Bains, CFO & Group Executive, Strategy of Aurizon; Ratha Nabanidham, Partner at Ashurst; and Jatinder Kaur, Director at JK Diversity Consultants.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from each speaker about their unique career journey, the opportunities and challenges they faced and how they got to where they are today.

This was followed by a moderated panel session whereby the speakers deep-dived into the dialogue of 'Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes'.  Amongst other things, the panel discussion touched on how to break barriers in order to move into senior management roles, the importance of adapting to change and up skilling, the role of personal branding and industry knowledge in career development and the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance.

The event offered insightful and practical advice for both women and men on how to overcome such challengers, step up and script their own career narratives.

 Attendee testimonials from the evening included:

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed the professionalism of the team hosting from YSPN and the speakers were so engaging and provided practical tips and guidance.
    2. To hear from each speaker on their career journey and how they got to where they are now was extremely aspiring.  The highlight for me was the panel session – it explored relevant challenges that young professionals face today and the speakers provided practical and 'real' advice on how to navigate those challenges.
    3. The event was extremely eye opening and inspiring. I felt empowered listening to the journeys of three women in very different careers, break barriers and overcome stereotypes that still challenge Sikh women today. Having a panel allowed us to get the answers to questions we’ve all asked ourselves when faced with adversity due to our gender and race. I really enjoyed the networking before and after the panel as it allowed me to meet so many likeminded people that have had similar experiences to me and share the same desire to succeed in our careers. I’m really excited to see what you guys have install next!
    4. Each speaker offered such insightful advice on breaking barriers and stereotypes. Fantastic effort by the entire team of YSPN for bringing these relevant and important topics to the spotlight.
    5. It was an incredible night of stellar speakers and as a female, I left feeling so empowered. Best of all, I got to take away key tips to help me with my career path and for that I’m grateful.
    6. Amazing event. Such diverse and fine knowledge at one platform – outstanding! Cannot wait for the next one!
    7. Thought the event was incredibly inspiring and served as a great foundation for learning how to break the glass ceiling and encouraging men to be allies too!
    8. This event has made me conscious of the challenges women face in managing cultural, family and career aspirations.  The event was an educational one for everyone, including educating us on the responsibility of men in being able to support women in being able to juggle all of these factors.

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    Walk and Talk with YSPN Melbourne

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    YSPN Melbourne's Walk and Talk event was the perfect opportunity for us to meet our fantastic members in a casual environment, and to give everyone an opportunity to meet the team and find out what YSPN is about.

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      On the 24th of November, YSPN Melbourne hosted the final event for the year, ‘Walk and Talk with YSPN’.

      Despite the unpredictable Melbourne weather, the event was an opportunity for the us to chat and mingle in a casual setting walking through the banks of the Yarra through Birrarung Marr. Walking in pairs overlooking the river, we spoke of our backgrounds, career and journeys then breaking off into groups to learn and perform a short Bhangra segment – an apt way to break the ice, learn and stay connected to our roots!

      Ending with a coffee and delicious YSPN 5 year celebration cookies at Federation Square the morning allowed us to unwind, appreciate our surroundings and community before heading into the festive season.

      Looking forward to 2019 - stay tuned we have great things planned!

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      Melbourne event 2: Connect and Grow

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      YSPN Melbourne hosted an open networking event at Melbourne Business School. The event was attended by professionals of all experience levels

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      The ice was broken early on in the evening – despite there being a diverse range of attendees, the atmosphere was warm and lively. Jokes were shared over finger-food and drinks as professionals of all ages and backgrounds got to know one another.

      The evening was divided into group activity and then lecture-style segments to provide attendees with practical networking strategies they could implement in their conversations.

      Attendees were given the opportunity to ‘work the room’ through group and pair activities. It was a great chance for professionals with less experience in networking to practice introducing themselves and getting that follow-up, as they were encouraged and reassured by the event hosts and other attendees. This allowed professionals who felt less confident to feel comfortable, step outside their comfort zone, and grow.

      In this way, the best part of the event was the support provided – we could practice networking strategies in an environment that was encouraging, friendly, and casual. By the end of the evening, everyone had built new connections and friendships with people both in and outside of their fields.

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      Sydney event 2: Getting the Yes

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      YSPN Sydney held their second event for 2018, Getting the Yes, hosting a negotiating masterclass with seasoned negotiator and academic Noa Sheer and sponsored by Allen and Overy.

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      The YSPN team identified that negotiation was a critical skill underpinning career and commercial success, and a skill that people use multiple times per day. Most interactions with colleagues are a form of negotiation. From a request for a file, a phone call or a simple task – all are examples of negotiations.

      Most interactions with colleagues are a form of negotiation

      The key insight Noa brought to the table to build on “Getting to Yes” (the negotiating bible) built upon behavioural research and managing or exploiting cognitive biases. The two focus points during the masterclass were Anchoring, and Framing; and understanding how to either mitigate them if used by your negotiating counterpart, or use them to your advantage.

      Noa used a cycle of Understand, Predict and Control in order to improve success in negotiations. In order to do that, negotiators need to:

      1. Have a sense of self-awareness
      2. Be able to identify the type of negotiation and select the right approach
      3. Be able to plan strategically for the negotiation that will unfold
      4. Be able to implement strategic rhetoric in the negotiation itself to achieve the sought outcomes

      Self Awareness

      This is important in identifying interests that underpin and drive the negotiation and resulting behaviours.

      Interests are abstract motivations, in contrast to goals or targets which are highly specific, and narrow. For example, an interest is ‘to get warm’ in contrast to ‘to get someone else’s jacket’ or ‘to get someone to turn on a heater’.

      Interests are abstract motivations, in contrast to goals or targets which are highly specific, and narrow

      A strong self-awareness will enable negotiators to not only identify their own interests, but also enable them to empathise with their counterpart to reveal the interests driving their counterparty. The overlap between these interests—the Zone of Possible Agreement, or ‘ZOPA’—is where any potential deal will happen. Additionally, coming up with a broader set of interests results in a strong best alternative to negotiated agreement or ‘BATNA’, in turn reducing the likelihood of confrontation.

      Approaches

      There are various different types of negotiations which are defined by their structural characteristics. For example, wrestling (value capture), gift exchange (value exchange) and mining (value creation) to be successful in each type of negotiation however, we learnt to always use an interest-based approach when you’re expecting an ongoing relationship and require commitment to the negotiated outcome.

      Wrestling: Use anchoring through your listing price, and framing through the existing range of prices in addition to supporting evidence to improve your tactical position, capturing the most value.

      Gift Exchange: Use bundling to aggregate value for your counterparty but do not cost you anything to provide. Software sales is a good example of where gift exchange is used particularly in the framing of sale options.

      Mining: Use questions in order to gather information about what is valuable to your counterparty and create a more valuable position for both parties. The key difference between gift exchange and mining is in the strategic (ongoing) versus tactical (one-off) nature of the negotiation and the relationship.

      More information

      The information in this event summary is a fraction of what was covered during the event. If you’d like further information or bespoke consulting and training, contact Noa Sheer, our masterclass facilitator at the below details.

      Sheer Negotiations - Bespoke training in the art and science of negotiations

      noa@sheernegotiations.com | 0410632216 | sheernegotiations.com

      Alternatively, reach out to events@yspn.org.au to speak with one of our Executive team who participated in the event to hear about their experiences.

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      Auckland Event 1: Your Career Journey with Sarv Girn

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      On Friday 4th May, YSPN Auckland held ‘Your Career Journey’, the first keynote event for 2018. The event featured Sarv Girn, arguably the highest ranking Sikh in corporate Australia and New Zealand, with the title of CIO of The Reserve Bank of Australia as one of his most recent accolades.

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        The 2018 inaugural event, hosted by the Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN) was opened by Sarv Girn, the CIO of The Reserve Bank of Australia. Girn has a career spanning of over 25 years within the global banking industry and is one of the highest ranking Sikhs in Corporate Australia. Sarv Girn is a banker, visionary and a truly transformative individual with firm cultural grounding as a Sikh. The ambience in the room was one of respect and awe as a person of such calibre walked to the podium with such grace and humility, resonating with the concept of ‘nimrata’ as we all hear in the Gurbani. Mr. Girn’s addressed the YSPN network with grace and humility; his interactive keynotes inspired the urge to encourage change, challenge ourselves and accelerate growth within our professional lives.

        Sarv opened his keynote by sharing with us the most significant and impactful events of his career journey with lessons learned thus far and stressed upon the idea that “education does not finish upon the completion of a degree”. Girn highlighted the importance of planning versus being spontaneous or in the moment and this resonated with most of the audience as millennials confirmed, through a show of hands, believing in ‘just do it.’

        Education doesn't finish upon the completion of a degree

        The importance of branding yourself as an individual while, detaching yourself from a comfort zone and the importance of networking were all topics that were portrayed along with examples from his own life. Girn shared with us his regret of not pursuing law because of his fear of not being able to succeed in the industry due to his cultural background.

        Girn’s life is one filled with success, failures, and opportunities. He believes that the key ingredients to having a fulfilling career are all about finding the right mentor, wise networking, practical experience and development planning. This information, to a younger audience, who at this stage were internalizing their progress, proved to be invaluable. However, as a room filled with young professionals, the consensus and conversations from the post networking event have been that this event has been the catalyst for taking ownership in their career/educational journeys for the rest of the year. The evening concluded with a question and answer session where a standard line from many was that ‘I am glad I am not in this alone’ which resonates to the modus operandi of YSPN: creating the environment where young Sikhs can succeed and amplify their influence.

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        Sydney Event 1: Defining Your Voice

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        Sydney's first event as part of the Defining Your Voice series held across the country sought to equip our members with the skills to be confident public speakers, and help them in achieving their goals in their personal and professional lives. Featuring noted panelists from Sydney's Startup scene, Lily Wu and Vaibhav Namburi, the event had over 25 attendees from different industries and experience levels. Ending in a series of speeches by members chosen as strongest among their group, the interactive workshop allowed everyone to develop their skills in a safe environment.

        The key takeaway from the event was to adapt your message to the situation.

        If this sounds like an event you would have benefited from, come along to our future events!

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        Sydney kicked off our 2018 events calendar with our Defining Your Voice series held across Australia. Featuring Lily Wu of Austern International and Vaibhav Namburi of Five2One, the event tried to give our audience the tools to be confident public speakers, with a workshop allowing them to practice what they'd learnt among their peers.

        The event also launched our theme for the year, start with a whisper, end with a roar.

        Some of the key takeaways from both speakers are below:

        Lily Wu

        • It's all about how you position a situation - the $40 bond she got as a downpayment on the shoes was actually (partially) also due to a lack of cash - i.e. a WC loan from her customers
        • It’s all about your network – 100 direct contacts = 200,000 indirect contacts
        • Defining moment for ‘finding her voice’ – realising that entrepreneurship gave her an avenue to explore her talent/passion
        • People care about your why – mould your situation according to the target audience

        Vaibhav Namburi

        • Be resilient – he failed IELTS 9 times but didn’t give up
        • Job ads means the company is desperate to find people
          • Reach out to your network first to find opportunities
        • Cold-messaging (through LinkedIn) is effective
          • Shows confidence and the drive to ‘fake it till you make it’
        • The majority of (73%) people posting about entrepreneurship are actually ‘wantrepreneuers’ – the ones actually working just work without telling everyone about it
          • Nothing wrong with not working at a job – you’ll eventually be friends with the bosses of those who are
        • You can sell all you want, but no one will buy it if you don’t know what you’re selling
          • Say what your audience wants to hear
            • Know/research your audience

        Key takeaway

        Adapt your message depending on the situation

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