April 10, 2020

Five Ways to Improve Your Networking Skills, with Pat Hedley


As part of our always be learning culture at the Ricciardi Group, every month we take time to meet with an influential leader to enhance our personal development.

In April, we had the pleasure of (virtually) welcoming Pat Hedley, author of “Meet 100 People: A How-to Guide to the Career and Life Edge Everyone’s Missing”. During our discussion, Pat thoughtfully explained the concept of her book and taught us about the importance of investing in your networking skills. While it may sound like a daunting task, meeting a hundred people will not only help jumpstart your career but sets you up for prolonged success.

“Networking is like building a muscle. You have to get used to flexing it every day.”

If you’re not quite sure where to start, don’t fret. Throughout the session, she shared a plethora of practical advice on how to approach social situations and enhance your networking skills. We’ve rounded up five helpful tips to help shift your mindset so you can unlock your professional potential.

Five Ways to Improve Your Networking Skills

  1. If you have difficulty understanding the “why” of networking, think of it this way — it’s social currency. You need to have money saved in your social bank account, in order to cash in on your career.
  2. Networking is like building a muscle. You have to get used to flexing it every day.
  3. Sometimes it’s not about you meeting someone new, it’s about introducing people you know to each other. Make a plan to connect two people every day and for no other reason that you think they would benefit from knowing each other. You’ll be amazed at how it will pay back to you in time.
  4. You don’t have to be an extrovert to network well. Introverts may have to push themselves a bit more out of their comfort zones and know when to give themselves a break, but it can still be done. In some instances, like a conference, saying to yourself, ‘I’m going to meet one more person before I go back to my room’, can yield real rewards.
  5. Everyone thinks they do not have the time, but that’s simply untrue. If you have time to eat, you have time to meet. Use meals and coffee breaks to catch up with a peer, acquaintance, or potential business partner.

Networking in a Social Distancing World

While the book stresses the importance of meeting in-person, it was not lost on Pat that we’re living in social distancing times. Although making that face to face to connection is still crucial, there is no reason why virtual meetups can’t be just as effective. In fact, she explained how now more than ever, we’re craving personal connection. Many people are facing challenging times and are being forced to make unforeseen career transitions. Why not try to make something positive come from these circumstances? Take a chance and reach out to peers or influencers you admire (social media platforms can be your friend). Or, if you’re lucky enough to be in a stable position, pay it forward by making an introduction on behalf of someone who could use a break.

Big thanks again to Pat for being so generous with her time! To stay up-to-date with our Always Learning series, subscribe to our Brain Candy newsletter.

Subscribe to our newsletter

We value your privacy. We don't spam.