Networking Events: Quality Over Quantity
Don't say "YES" to every single networking event you're invited to. You'll burn out and defeat the purpose. Be choosy and decide what's best for you. Here's how.
I was recently wrapping up a session with a client, when she told me she was invited to a networking event the following evening, and was very excited about attending. I was happy for her, and we chatted briefly about the importance of being open to meeting new people, and having new experiences. This wasn’t the first time we’d discussed this. I coach others on gaining success by stepping out of their comfort zone, putting themselves out there, and taking risks. This often comes with accepting invitations, and taking part in events we are not used to, or necessarily thrilled to attend.
The next night, about fifteen minutes before the event, she texted me, ”Ok, so I’ve decided that I would rather light fire to my big girl panties while wearing them, than go to this networking thing." To which I responded, "Then don't go."
The following morning, I received another text, “I couldn’t back out. My coach told me that I need to push myself into my uncomfortable zone so that I can continue growing.” Damn. I coached this client so well, she didn't listen to my advice to stay home.
She was right. I am always preaching about risk taking, putting yourself out there and doing things that you don’t necessarily want to do in order to get ahead. Was I a huge hypocrite? Was I not practicing what I preached? Am I an imposter? No, of course not. I just thought she was skipping out for different reasons.
When I received her first text about not wanting to attend, I thought she had decided it would not be of value to her to attend - something else we've discussed numerous times. Not that she was in fear, or backing out because she was uncomfortable. Just the day before, she was telling me how excited she was. If I knew it was due to fear or not wanting to be in an uncomfortable situation, I definitely would have told her to go.
Quality Over Quantity.
Just this week, I've been invited to five networking events. Five. In one week. They consist of a bowling charity event, a cocktail hour meet-up, a local chamber workshop, an informational breakfast and a speed-networking event. If I attend every one of these events, I won't have any energy left to actually do my job.
While trying to get ahead in business, it’s vital we say “YES” a lot more than we say “NO”. But, that does not mean we say “YES” to every single invitation. It’s okay to weigh the pros and cons before committing to something.
Attending everything all of the time won't get you anywhere but exhausted. You'll spend more time away from your family and you'll burn out quicker. Be selective with your time, attendance, and who you surround yourself with. Think about quality not quantity.
When to Say Yes, When to Say No.
So, how do we know when to push ourselves, or head home to Netflix and Domino's?
Ask yourself these questions:
1. What is my intention behind attending this event?
2. Do I know anyone attending that could introduce me to others?
3. Who could I potential meet that I could help in some way or that could help me?
4. What value could I bring to others by attending?
If you can’t answer positively, then don’t go.
What it always comes down to is the energy you bring into a room. How you have an impact on others. If you are truly not feeling it’s going to be a positive experience, listen to your gut. Don’t go. If you’re just feeling tired and lazy, take one for the team, put your happy face on and go. I can’t tell you how many events I didn't particularly want to attend, but went anyway. Guess what? They ended up amazing and I met some great connections.
So remember, say “YES” more than “NO” but don't over extend yourself and burn out. You can't build your dream while you're exhausted and burnt out on the couch.
President & CEO