Meeting and Networking Vacations

by Apr 7, 2016Productivity

Do you fill your time with networking events, luncheons, happy hours and meetings in the name of building your business?

Is Overwhelm or Busy a word in your everyday vocabulary?

Discrimination can be a healthy word.

One of my clients is a networking queen. She attends so many events and is involved in so many networks, she started to feel overwhelmed and overtaxed. She wasn’t leaving enough room in her schedule for projects that she was getting paid to do, current clients or potential prospects. My solution for her was to take a month off from networking. We went through her calendar and took out all of the events that she didn’t chair or really need to be a part of. This freed up about 12-15 hours when including commute and transition time. My promise to her was that no one would forget her in one month. This was an exercise to determine if she
a) really missed the group or event at the end of the month
b) felt less stress and more in control of her agenda
At the end of the month, she was to look back and see if there were meetings or networks that she could phase out of or leave altogether.

Why does this need to be addressed at least yearly or every six months? In the beginning, when building your business, you may need to attend several events for people to know what you do, who you are and the services you provide. You have to do this type of networking to determine which group is a good fit for you, what events are convenient and what cost in time is worth gaining in money.

After a certain amount of business growth, you can start to be discriminatory and choose critical events or groups, focusing narrow and deep, rather than broad and shallow. You now need to fill up more of your time with project and client work rather than networking. Something has to be discarded. Let it be events or groups that no longer serve you to grow your business.

I make no secret that I am a discriminator. The groups that I do choose to be in know my name, what I do, and I am committed. I’m not a half-assed member of anything and would rather people really know me than just recognize my face. I know there will be people who won’t get this article and will tell me I have to network and those people won’t be getting my point. Networking for the sake of getting out there doesn’t get you far.

Network, meet and attend with intention.

Set a limit for outside meetings and events to free up your time to work on your business. Reevaluate regularly to see which groups are still serving you. Take a month off and see how much time is freed up and if you are able to generate more revenue and which functions need to be in your calendar.

What can you take off your calendar right now, that will free up your time to do project or client work?

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects