Getting Motivated to Network

I promised my newsletter subscribers that I would start talking about the challenges that they face in networking enough to achieve their goals.

One challenge that I've seen in several different forms is being motivated to network or having the desire to attend events.

This is a tough one because if you don't want to go, you will find many excellent and legitimate reasons to avoid networking events. There is so much to do, we're so busy doing so many things, that you could fill every hour with important work which will keep you away from networking.

You are not going to be successful at networking unless you want to do it. And yet you know networking is important to business success, so you sort of want to, but you just can't get motivated enough to quite make it to an event.

My friend Dr. IWannaWanna says it's not enough to "want to" do something, but you have to "want to, want to." I take it as meaning that we all "want to" do stuff like be successful, have a lot of money, etc. but that's not enough. We have to "want to" take some actual action to make these things happen. Dr. IWannaWanna has a very good point. What's funny is that one of the things he doesn't wanna do is network! And I don't think I could talk circles around him fast enough to convince him.

But I don't have to convince him. I don't even have to convince you. You have to do it. So how do you make yourself want to network? I have several methods of convincing myself to do things:
  • Get to the root reason why. Networking for the sake of networking isn't going to be very inspiring unless you already love it. Networking because your boss told you to isn't going to make you like it either. But, do you networking because you want to grow your business, because you have a young family you want to support? Providing for your children is a compelling reason.
  • Trick yourself. This is how I get in a lot of exercise. I tell myself, "just five minutes and then you can quit." By that time I've gotten warmed up and feel like doing a little more. Tell yourself, "I'll just talk to one person and then I'll leave." Next thing you know, they're cleaning up around you.
  • Reward yourself. Allow yourself to stop at and see your favorite barista if you go. Let yourself come to work 30 minutes late because you networked late. Treat yourself in some way for putting in the effort.
  • Team up with a friend. Your friend will be counting on you to meet them there. And, if your friend is shy or introverted, you'll be helping them out by being there to introduce them to people. Having someone else involved keeps you accountable.
  • Have a specific goal or reason. Just going for the sake of attending isn't going to be as appealing as "looking for a new supplier" or "finding out who's renting the new commercial space."
  • Get results and keep track of them. Nothing is more motivating than when you start to see the fruits of your labors. And, keep track of your results because its easy to forget them when the days get long and the memory of the great connections gets pushed aside by your busy days.
Is this helpful? Do you have a truly compelling reason to network? Do you have a plan? Are you bringing in outside resources to help yourself?

Tell me about your tricks and what works for you.

2 comments:

  1. One of the reasons many of my clients look to avoid networking is this: they are afraid of having to follow-up with that GIANT stack of business they will collect.

    But I tell them this: If you go to a networking event to collect 25 business cards that you intend (or are ordered) to send spam follow-up email, then you are better off not going.

    Instead, go to a networking event where you plan to connect with just a few people deeply, people you can really help and serve, and start a long-term friendship with.

    In my opinion, this is more productive. This is more enjoyable. And this will prove far more beneficial in the long run, both personally and professionally...

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  2. I'd like to say that networking is not something you do if you want immediate results, although that does happen sometimes. I network because I want to get to know people, which invariably leads to business anyway if you're not flaky.
    To get myself to an event, I tell myself "Well, I have to eat lunch/dinner anyway. Might as well get to know somebody or connect with some of my business friends at the same time." This only works if there's food at the event. I understand this, but it gets me in the mood.

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