Networking When You Hate Networking

Networking comes with the solopreneur job description, and it’s bound to come up at some point in anyone’s professional career.

In many contexts, I love meeting and talking to new people, but in truth, I hate traditional networking events.

There are several parts that don’t appeal to me:

  1. Small talk
  2. It takes time away from doing actual client work or developing new products/services
  3. Having to constantly talk about my business and myself
  4. Despite frequenting events, the first 3 hang-ups are still there (it doesn’t get much easier)

I still dislike a lot of things about traditional networking events, but instead of completely ignoring this part of being a professional adult, I became more intentional about 1) choosing events and 2) interacting with people there. I apply my 4-part process of learning-based engagement, and it helps me be more focused on the practice of developing business relationships instead of focusing on wishing I were doing other things.

How to Adjust Your Perspective to Make Networking Work for You

Explore: Research possible events, and try out a variety of different events.

Share: Share your goals with others, who will probably share their own tips and suggestions to you. I also find that other people also feel the same way I do! This is also a great way to hold yourself accountable to any goals you set.

Do:  Follow through on your goals and actually attend events. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, get out that door and try it out!

Reflect: Give events one or two tries, and decide whether it was worth the investment of time and energy. If they’re not — that’s OK! You tried it out, and you have anecdotal data to back up your decision.

If you know me at all you know I love a good assessment tool. Click here to get the simple Google Doc I use to judge whether an event is valuable to me.