Your time and energy is precious– no, you can’t afford to waste it!
The holidays can be a challenging time filled with an exhausting number of events. Don’t worry about saying no– you can proactively plan holiday networking!
Don’t you sometimes wish you could be like the Energizer Bunny? Whenever you’d get tired, you could just pop some fresh batteries in and keep going. Unfortunately, there are things that just seem to drain us no matter what. Networking can be like this. Take a moment to proactively plan you holiday networking by asking yourself:
- Do you like going to conventions, luncheons, and other networking opportunities?
- What do you usually do after a networking event—do you go home to rest or do you feel excited to go back to the office?
- What types of events do you decide to go to?
- How long does it take you to recover from a networking event?
- At what point in a networking event do you start to lose energy?
- What types of events and people help you to feel great and re-energized?
As we come up on the holiday season, you will have many opportunities to network, which is why it’s important to understand the limits of your time and energy to ensure you make good use of them. You don’t have to attend every function to grow your network efficiently, you can be selective. If networking takes up a lot of your energy, you want to make sure that you go to the most valuable and rewarding events. How do you know if an event is valuable? First, know your networking goals. Who are you looking to network with and where will they be? The value in an opportunity comes from the people who will be there and how you will communicate.
However, sometimes you have to go to an event you aren’t thrilled about, or one that you anticipate will be a huge energy commitment. What do you do? First, check out my previous posts about boosting your confidence here. If you’re not excited about the event, you can at least be excited about your own success! Next, make a commitment that you’ll stay for at least a short period of time. Need some incentive? Promise yourself something fun in exchange for going—go to bed early, watch your favorite movie, purchase a song by your favorite band, etc. Make the reward contingent on staying for a certain amount of time like 30 or 45 minutes or talking with at least three people. Sometimes, it helps to have a fun goal in mind! Finally, fake it ‘till you make it! Who knows—an event that sounded dreadful might end up being fantastic.
However, if you’re lucky and able to turn down the events that don’t fit for you, make it easy on yourself. Know that you don’t have to explain; a simple response such as:
“Thanks for thinking of me but I won’t be able to attend.” will do just fine! If it’s an online invite, just click “no” and be done! Most hosts would prefer that you don’t post something publicly about why you can’t go anyway.
Most of all this holiday season, take care of yourself and respect your own time and energy. If events are draining for you, don’t feel badly! Arrange your schedule so that it works in your favor and never regret saying no. I personally find it helpful to reserve times on my calendar for family, friends and even alone time. That way, it’s easier for me to say “no” and stick with my previous commitments. Spend your valuable time with your closest and most rewarding connections (including quality time alone). Enjoy this season and happy connecting!
PS: Alternatively, you may suffer from “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) and genuinely want to say yes to every invitation. But keep in mind that you will have a better experience when you take care of yourself and don’t overcommit and exhaust yourself. Plus…wouldn’t you rather fully enjoy the “best of the best” events than to spread yourself thin by trying to be everywhere?