How to Get in the Mood to Network
Networking isn't easy, especially when you're not in the right mood. Here's how to get out of that funk and out in the world.
We all have those "special days" when we’re just not in the mood to network. You know you need to get out of the office and get friendly to find new clients, but you’re overloaded by your to-do list, haven’t been to the gym and are feeling less than fabulous, or you’re just too tired and cranky to chase new business at a bar.
So what should you do when you’re not in the mood to network? Try these simple tricks of the trade.
1. Pump yourself up.
Networking, like love and life, is about having the right attitude. To get in the mood, put on your power suit, play your favorite music, give yourself a pep talk and remember the fun and success you’ve had at other events.
2. It takes two.
Sweet-talking with someone you like can quickly improve your attitude. Phone a friend to join you at the networking event. Call someone who never says no to a good time, and who will easily convince you to join the party.
3. Set limits.
Set a reasonable goal and/or time limit for your networking activity. Commit to working the room for 30 minutes, or until you meet three quality people you’ll want to follow up with again. (Or whichever comes first.) By setting a defined goal with limits, you’ll be more efficient, more likely to get results and more likely to enjoy yourself and want to do it again. And again, and again
4. Be open to new experiences.
If you equate networking with eating sour lemons, then take those lemons and make a lemon drop martini. Don’t think of it as networking or sales, think of it as a chance to visit an interesting venue or try a trendy new bar to impress your clients.
5. Foreplay is important.
Make plans to meet a friend or colleague before the event. It will force you out of the office, and get you warmed up and in the mood for the main event.
6. The after-party.
Make plans to meet a friend or colleague after the event. It will give you something to look forward to at the end of the night, and serve as a reward for all your hard work.
7. Get rid of unrealistic expectations.
Performance anxiety can cripple even the best athletes. Don’t worry about the end result of closing a deal. Instead, just breathe deeply, and heavily, and enjoy the experience. The best things in life often come when we stop trying to grab them.
Related: 5 Keys to Making True Connections
The best business relationships bring you joy and success, enrich you professionally and personally and can last a lifetime. But when you don't have a supportive, caring network, you can become frustrated, lonely, broken-hearted and broke.
(By Deena Baikowitz, chief networking officer at Fireball Network. Fireball Network offers networking coaching and facilitated networking services.)