For the last few weeks I’ve not been out networking. At all. My extroverted side is screaming, “Hey! What gives?” My more introverted, introspective side is breathing a sigh of relief. At some point my two sides will work it out and find a compromise. But in the meantime I wanted to share some of the many reasons why and when it’s okay to take a break from your business socialization schedule.
- You’re busy following up on all the connections you made in your previous networking efforts.
- Better yet, you’ve earned a ton of new business from said networking efforts. The pipleline is blissfully full. (Just don’t get too comfy here.)
- You need a break from people. Nothing less. Nothing more.
- You’re in the midst of envisioniong, creating, or developing a new product or service offering. It’s time to get focused and get ‘er done.
- You’re dealing with personal issues. (It’s okay. Life happens.)
- You’re choosing to take some time for yourself or your loved ones. (I used to take the summers off from networking when my son was young. Don’t regret that at all.)
- You’re seeing the same people over and over again and need to back away, evaluate, strategize, and expand or change up your networking efforts.
- None of the networking groups you know about have events or programs that remotely interest you. It’s simply a dry spell.
- Cold and flu season is at it’s apex and you have a trip to [insert dream destination] planned in a few weeks. You want to stay germ-free.
Any of these reasons are good ones, but again, don’t let your hiatus last too long. Otherwise you’ll have to rebuild any momentum you worked so hard for or (worst case) people will think you’ve moved away, retired, fallen off the face of the earth, or just aren’t interested or engaged any more.
What would you add to the list? I’m interested to hear when and why you may have intentionally chosen to back away from the networking circuit.
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This is a great list. The cover story of Time this week is on Shyness. It’s an interesting piece on the unrecognized merits of introverts. And confirms your numbers 3 and 4 here. Genius needs to breathe. To reflect and think. To recharge.
It also coins the phrase ambivert…someone who is both extroverted and introverted. It sounds like we have that in common.
Great post. I need more “take a break” advice, for sure.
Wow, ambivert. I had not heard that term before. But it’s accurate. And that is indeed me.
Excellent, Patti! I have not seen anybody cover this subject before. Great point. I am kind of doing that now… buckling down to get ready for something and create a lot of content. I love this topic…
Thanks, Lorie. One of my teachers, Marcia Wieder with Dream University, says, “the heart opens and closes.” It’s another rhythm of life we need to understand and honor.
Great insights Patti – as always, “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.”
I like that you vocalize giving yourself “permission” to take a break for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I feel guilty if I’m not networking enough, yet the resons you listed often come up preventing me. #9 hits close to me. I want to network, but not look like Monk when I bust out the hand-sanitizer after meeting someone. Even us extroverts need a break.
Great observations, Janki. And I bet if we observe closely we can all spot the people who are out networking (and would really rather be somewhere else).
This was a fantastic article Patti!
The only think that I would add is, after a valiant effort of networking, I realized that I needed to hunker down and take another look at what my ideal client criteria is (from Sandy Burton’s “Think Big” program). I was networking in the wrong places for the type of clients that really were my perfect ones!
Yes, definitely. Networking more is not as effective as networking well. Thanks Adeline for your comment.
I’ve definitely had times when I’m not “feeling it” in terms of being motivated to network. As you mentioned in your reply to another commentor, I don’t think it is a good idea to force myself to get out there when my heart isn’t in it because I’m sure people can spot that. And in keeping with #4, there are also times when I need to focus inward and evaluate what I really am seeking for myself and my business so that I know what I’m trying to attract versus randomly attracting connections and work that may not be the right fit as my business evolves.
GREAT piece, Patti. I absolutely love the days when I don’t go anywhere, when I can focus on my work uninterrupted. I have learned to say “no” more often these days so I can take care of the most important things. Here in Austin, we could go to networking events morning, noon and night, every day of the week. It’s more important than ever to be selective, just as you talk about in your book, and not just out and about to be seen.
Thanks for validating my freedom to say “no!”
It is refreshing to read not just your blog post, Patti, but also all the comments. Combined, they echo my thoughts on this topic, however what is particularly cool is to have them be aired. I thought I was the only one who, for example like Susan T, absolutely relishes (and fiercely guards) the rare days of uninterrupted work from my home office. For the last few years I’ve tried to ‘protect’ my Mondays, and have found it gives me a really productive start to the week.
another reason i like to “network by podcast” is that i can maintain a sustained effort over time. with this strategy, i can prevent networking burn-out…
I love that strategy, Todd. You and your interview subject get the benefit of a real, yet valuable conversation, you both get to share it and build visibility, and we listeners get to benefit as well.
Networking burnout is not good!
Absolutely love this, Patti! Even though I appear to LOVE being out-and-about, networking, meeting new people and catching-up with both colleagues and friends, the truth is I am really an introvert at heart and absolutely LOVE those days when I choose to focus on catching-up on email, reading, exploring, writing, creating, brainstorming, doing admin work without being on a set schedule or rushing out to yet another meeting or appointment. In fact, I’m doing it today!
Thanks for reminding us all how important it is to take time to do this and schedule these days in…point-of-fact: I am not scheduling any more ‘coffees, catch-ups or get-to-know you meetings’ with anyone except my closest friends, colleagues or current clients until AFTER a trip/vacation I am taking in just one month simply because I know that in order to enjoy and take the most advantage of the upcoming trip, I must keep my nose-to-the-grindstone at both prep and client work in advance in order to really enjoy it! And ya know what, I’m thrilled to have that reason to postpone. Thanks for taking some of that ‘guilt’ away and for these timely tips!
Thanks for this thoughtful comment. Much wisdom there. As important as relationships are, we also have to take time for us, for priorities that are dear to us, and for the projects and clients we are already committed to. Great contribution!