“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” ~Albert Einstein
"Lately, it doesn't seem to be working." ~Anonymous
Just like it's easy for extroverts to give great advice to shy people about networking ("Don't be shy"), it's easy for someone whose job is to network to tell you to "just make the time."
Let me try to give you some ideas on finding the time to network that don't include the usual tried-and-true time management advice (because you know all about that, right?).
- Maybe you're not "finding time" to networking because you're getting bored. Or you're not having fun any more. Or you're not getting results. If it was fun and productive, you'd find the time.
- Are you avoiding events because they take a big chunk of time out of one day? If your association luncheon runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., including travel time, that's 2 1/2 hours you've got to carve out. Maybe it's time for shorter bursts of networking. Try a no agenda event (such as mixers) where you can run in for just 20 minutes.
- Combine activities. Can you invite a client to the association event? Take a new contact to lunch? Mix business with pleasure?
- Try Speed Networking or BlitzTime events which are set up to maximize the number of people you meet.
- Take a leadership position. You'll spend more time working for the organization or group, but you'll gain much more exposure to more people all at once.
- Recruit ambassadors or champions to help expand your sphere of influence (you should probably do the same for them!).