I get asked a lot about how I fit in networking? I don’t have time between family and work, particularly work travel, to squeeze in more than one or two evening events a month (and that’s on a good month!).
But I find that two things work well for me. One, meeting early in the morning for breakfast or coffee before the day gets started works for me. I find that my attention is focused on the conversation because the work day is not in full swing yet. I find that scheduling lunches can be difficult with my schedule which can be unpredictable and I hate to cancel and when I’m rushed or stressed, I feel like I’m not giving 100% of my attention or focus to the conversation. Totally defeating the purpose of making authentic connections.
Added bonus, when dealing with rush hour traffic, this gets you where you need to go without that added stress! I can usually have breakfast and get to the office before traffic!
The second is phone calls. These are great for introductory conversations or even focused-topic discussions. I find when I’ve talked to someone on the phone a couple of times before meeting them in person, we are already connected and can really take the conversation to the next level when we get face-to-face.
I try to make networking phone calls, or check in calls, on my commute. Hands-free of course. I find certain people I can catch in the morning on their drive into work and certain people, particularly in other time zones, I catch on the way home.
Even if you have to leave a quick voice mail, I find that people appreciate that you are calling to check in and maybe to see how whatever project they are working on is going.
One last benefit of the morning meeting is it is easier to eat healthier off the breakfast menu. I find too many evening events lead to extra calories in the form of that one glass of wine! That one appetizer! So, morning meetings help your waistline too! Bonus.
So, get out there and be of service to your network.