The networking blues. That overwhelming feeling of:
- Been here so many times and nothing seems to ever come of it.
- Everyone wants to take and no one wants to give. I can’t do this anymore.
- All I have from the evening is business cards.
- I’m exhausted.
- I’m spending so much time and money.
- No one follows up.
Have you ever felt like this? C’mon, be honest. I think most everyone that is involved in the networking “scene” has experienced these feelings at one time or other.
And if you find yourself having these thoughts with a bit more regularity, if are starting to avoid networking meetings or events like the plague, then may I suggest the following:
Hold up a mirror and cast a critical eye on your own behavior at networking meetings. Are you engaging in some hard sell tactics as you “work the room” or are you being personable and interested in meeting and learning about the other attendees?
Do you follow-up in a timely manner or are you somewhat “guilty” of the same thing you complain about in other people?
Are you attending the wrong events? Not all events are right for everybody. You have to be selective and protect your time and money.
Do you make introductions proactively? There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you are not proactive you are not as effective a networker as you could be. (Call me if you want some more insights about this.)
Do you “ask” for introductions and take the time to explain to people how they might be able to help you. People aren’t mind readers and while you might think that they should know who would be a good introduction for you, they often don’t
And if nothing seems to work, it might be time to take a short break in your networking activity. I don’t mean that you should disappear from the scene altogether but stepping back just a little might help you to regain your enthusiasm and energy.
Networking takes time and energy, money and enthusiasm and you need to be fully engaged. Anything less and you won’t get your desired ROT (return on time).