Some folks look at me strangely when I pull out my work calendar—my day planner, that is. “I’ll pencil you in,” I say.
“Adrian, don’t you have a smart phone?,” they ask. “Wouldn’t it be easier to enter all of your meetings and events into iCal? It sends you alerts and keeps everything neat for you!”
See, that’s just the issue we multi-tasking business leaders face these days: a oversimplified way of cramming our schedules with meeting after appointment after networking dinner. Our work lives seem to be engineered around the time it takes to get from client A to client B (and not how to connect client A with client B!). The workday is growing longer because, well, we feel that each face-to-face is as important as the next. With so many networking events and so little time, we are left with an even smaller opportunity to prioritize.
How does one know if The Big Fish (aka Perfect client; Perfect referral source) won’t be swimming in the small pond? It would be “bad business” to miss that opportunity, right?
The truth is, we do know. The Big Fish has already learned to make choices, be strategic, and play it smart.
Some questions to ask yourself before hitting Yes on that networking RSVP:
• Will your Big Fish be there? Will s/he be available to meet you? (Here’s when checking up on those social media platforms is a must!)
• Will you find excellent referral sources? Are other attendees willing and able networkers like yourself?
• Can you build new speaking or writing initiatives? Are you able to come away with new insights or approaches?
• Will it be FUN? (Shameless plug: I’ve hosted networking events at the Long Island Children’s Museum, an unlikely venue for extraordinary professional relationship building.)
When I pull out my day planner and “pencil you in,” I’ve established a commitment to that meeting or event. I’m aware of the opportunities missed by blocking out that time; likewise I’m aware of the opportunities to gain by making it a priority. After all, Caesar didn’t say “I came, I saw, and then I walked away to something else.” Make choices, be strategic, play it smart.