Overwhelm, over complication and being over-stretched are make networking hard work. The result? We give up and the negative impact on our business and career performance effects success.
“When the economy is good networking is important. In tough times or tough job markets, networking is essential.” – Orville Pearson
I couldn’t agree more. So why are so many of us finding networking hard work?
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having lots of conversations about what is really getting in the way.
Connie shared with me that for so long she’s been procrastinating because she’s worried about what people think, questioning what she should say and admitted that her natural introversion has become an excuse.
Can you hear those inner voices right there?
Sharon shared that working out a reason to connect in the first place was tricky and then asked how do you finish that initial conversation without it feeling icky?
Strategies and frameworks will absolutely help here.
Whilst Daniel talked about being way too busy! There it is..the busy-ness of life once again becoming the challenge to doing the very thing that you need to do. When I asked him what would it mean to connect with people that would help his business achieve those financial goals he’d set himself this year;…you could see the lightbulb switching on.
Despite all these excuses everyone I speak to admits that surrounding themselves with a great group of people would help improve their business or career success.
We’ve put the work back into networking and made it all too difficult and exhausting.
Having spoken and worked with many people over the years, I have found there are four key pain points we report feeling when it comes to networking.
Where do we begin?
With all the online and offline options available to us, many of us feel overwhelmed by choice, with no idea where to start when it comes to building a network. Face-to-face engagement puts pressure on us to be constantly interesting and engaging; and whilst computers remove much of that pressure, we are still overwhelmed with which platform, what photo to upload, which bio and how do we engage or ask for help? And the big one…why would anyone care about me?
Which tools and applications should I use? Which social media networks should I be on — and should I join all, one or just some of them? I How do I manage them? How do I keep in touch with an ever-growing network? Which events, zoom sessions, clubhouse rooms should I attend? How often do I need to be seen at these ‘networking’ events? Add to this the pressures of multi-tasking, having to think on your feet, constantly switching focus, jumping from one group of people to the next while trying to remember what actions you should take… Are you confused yet?
Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn, Instagram? Clubhouse? Snapchat? AAAAHHHH! We struggle with prioritising the tasks on our daily to-do list, let alone deciding on who to call or get a cuppa with, which networking event to attend or platform to engage with. Conversations are often rushed and superficial, falling back on small-talk. Words and messages are communicated through acronyms — LOL, FYI and OMG and the like, with more arcane expressions such as IRL, TBH and DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome) on the rise.
Every day we are pulled and stretched in hundreds of directions, challenged to be truly ‘present’ while maximising productivity despite the growing demands on our time and energy. Most of us report feeling drained, exhausted and overstretched much of the time. Throw networking into the mix, and many of us will say, ‘I know I should, but I’ll do it another day.’
4. Over it!
When it comes to networking, we are quite simply over it. We know we should network because everyone around us is telling us so, but where is the real evidence of the return on the investment? I’m doing ok at the moment so why should I network? Is it really necessary?
If we’re feeling overwhelmed, overcomplicated, overstretched, and over it, why on earth would we still bother networking?
It’s simple really.
You can’t get anywhere in life on your own
Networking helps you:
- Achieve your goals
- Build your confidence
- Open doors to opportunity
- Create business leads
- Support your decision making
- Pave a path to your success.
Take a moment to think about what gets in your way of networking?
Ask yourself, what would would change for you if you could network in a better way and with more confidence?
And maybe get curious about how improved networking skills would positively impact your business/career?
Until next week