Networking Fatigue?


The holiday season gives us a great opportunity to meet lots of people. I actually love meeting new people, but I consider the holidays to be my “vacation time” and working is the last thing I want to do. Now that the holidays are officially over, all the parties are done and the decorations have been taken down, I’ve had some time to think about how I could have improved the golden opportunities that were presented to me.

First off, a changed attitude and a plan could have done wonders. Rather than thinking of it as ‘work’, I could have had more fun gathering interesting solid information, engaging in intellectual pursuits, and getting news I could use. Once the conversation turns to the weather, I know it’s my time to either change the course of the conversation, or leave. 

I also discovered a few ways to relieve the fatigue of networking, especially during the holidays

1. Enjoy the party!

You don’t have to make it into a business function. Even though having a plan is important, most of the time the plan happens without much effort. So, sit back and enjoy the festivities.

2. Go with a purpose in mind.

A purpose doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Find a person who has the same hobby or enjoys reading the same author. Seek out the Real Estate Agent and find out about the market in the area. Learn about community changes, new buildings, new streets and new pubic appointments. Meet your new neighbors and maybe meet a few old ones whom you don’t know. 

3. Make it a personal achievement game.

Again, make it purposeful, but FUN. Create a game to earn points for the number of people who meet a certain requirement  you’ve set. (i.e. How many people have read a book by both Hemingway and J.K. Rowling? How many people have never seen ‘The Wizard of Oz’)

4. Schedule yourself

Plan to attend this event for 2 hours or specify a time that you must leave

A few more general suggestions:

* Remember Etiquette

If you have received an invitation, respond within 24 hours but don’t ask “so who is coming?”

** Be Prepared 1

Add a small pen and pad (better yet an index card) in your pocket, in case you need to write down contact information. An index card is heavier and will stand out among your other papers.

***   Be Prepared 2

Create a list of interesting questions. The three below are just a start.

a. “What are you reading?” This question always takes me by surprise. Reading is such a solitary pursuit that I am delighted when someone actually asks.

b. “What interested you in your career? What has kept you in the field?”

c. “What are you passionate about today?” This question usually takes people by surprise, but I ask, tell them something that I’m passionate about (for me, it’s a new found passion with music) and see where the conversation goes.

**** Networking is about attitude. Put on your best smile, bring an inquisitive mind and you’re good to go.

The key components of networking are to remember that if you are in business, you are always selling. If you want to meet new people who can help you grow a business or a community, you need a plan. Know your outcome before you step foot into that crowd of people.

Make networking work for you – you’ll enjoy yourself more and it will inevitably be profitable.