How to Master the Art of Networking

Tips by Ian Sandler, Co-Founder of Riley’s Way

During an engaging and interactive virtual workshop held late July with our 2022 Call For Kindness Fellows, Riley’s Way Co-Founder Ian Sandler shared inspiring tips on networking effectively. Ian’s talk was marked by laughter and learning as he opened up about his illustrious academic and professional journey. Following is a breakdown of what Ian shared during the event, compiled as nine tips — and helpful for anyone embarking on their networking journeys.

  1. Network with anyone and everyone. Keep your circle of connections large and wide — and eclectic. You never know who might be able to help you on the path you’re seeking. Still, be thoughtful and deliberate about how you approach people in your network. Don’t make it about yourself only. Ask questions to let them know you’re thinking of them often. Think about your network as a group of people you can help.

  2. Find opportunities to get yourself way out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to just go for that big break. Impostor syndrome is real but be encouraged by knowing you are where you are for a reason, and don’t be afraid to take risks.

  3. Be authentic. Even if you think people will judge you, being true to yourself may be just the thing to get you to stand out and land that next opportunity.

  4. Be passionate about what you do. Passionate energy is infectious and gets others excited about what you’re doing. Find those things that give you the most joy. “If you find things you’re passionate about in this world, you will have a good life.”

  5. Don’t be afraid to go deep. Roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in learning more about what drives your network and the people around you and take them with you on your journey.

  6. Stay organized. Detail your interactions with others and create a road map of your networking journey. Treat networking as if it is a job. Consistent management of your contacts is key to success.

  7. Maintain good mental health. “You can’t change the world if you’re not in good mental health.” Take things day by day. It’s important to be kind to yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself when navigating your networking circle.

  8. Model the behaviors and values you want to see in other people. Make sure you have the right tone and tenor in your meetings. Be aware of the energy you are bringing into certain spaces.

  9. Leadership is vulnerability. Life isn’t perfect for anyone. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Sometimes your life experiences can bleed into work — and that’s OK.