Introverts, Burgers and Networking?

The metaphor of eating the well-dressed burger while it’s making a mess, to your business networking operating at productive levels while you recognize the mess, is worth exploring. It’s possible that introverts more than extroverts, find that deciding who to further engage with in networking requires some inner reflection. Two types of energy to consider in networking are:

Hot Potato Energy: It isn’t always worth holding on to a networking relationship but how do you know when to let go?

Warm Bun Energy: You nurture a warm bun effect with people who you decide to follow-up. Why would anyone choose the hot potato energy instead of the warm bun energy in networking?

    Many of us network on autopilot. Networking on autopilot can ignore the good and the bad about networking. As long as we attend events, shake hands, do business with the same people and give our elevator pitch, the truth is we can feel like we are moving forward. But what we ignore is that we may either be treating others or setting ourselves up to be the hot potato no one wants to hold on too long. But, is staying in an organization or chasing down a potential connection always the right thing to do? Are there times to move on?

    Being on autopilot, we don’t stop to check how we feel. Now stay with me. I won’t take you down a woo-woo path. The truth is, there are many places in the networking process where if we just stop momentarily to check-in with ourselves, we would pay more attention to the course we are setting. Say you’ve had a disturbing day – a deer hit your car, you broke a favorite dinner plate that your grandmother gave you as a gift, or you tossed and turned the night before and feel tired. Do you stop to acknowledge any of this? Do you ignore it and keep moving? Picture this: The above scenarios are comparable to you carrying emotional baggage as you network with people. You are making the process more labor-intensive than you need to.

    Get and use more self-steering. If we stop and find out how we are feeling, we can make better decisions, including whether or not to be in the crowd of networking. Before going either on-line or to an in-person networking event, what if you thought both about how you feel as well as how this particular venue is for your networking events? You’re feeling quite excellent – a new client signed on with you, you got a larger commission check than usual, you have a dinner date with your honey tonight – things are buzzing. But you checked your sales results for where your best prospective clients are coming from, and it’s not this particular networking venue. Are you going to take your bags (good baggage this time) and refocus your efforts? Do you choose hot potato or warm bun energy? Are you not going to attend or put your efforts toward something more productive, whether you go or not?

Get off of autopilot and learn to self-steer, as you trust your feelings about the messiness of networking. As introverts, we’re accustomed to likely spending more time than with our own thoughts than extroverts. Why not leverage this trait? Let those thoughts guide us to those feelings. After all it’s those inner thoughts that created the feelings. You’ll find you make better choices, of whether to take the hot potato or the warm bun approach with improved discernment. Likely sooner than later, the messy burgers of your networking will eventually bring you the best outcomes possible.

What are you doing to get off of autopilot with your networking? If you are interested in learning some worthwhile processes, ideas and Warm Bun strategies, listen to this free call, 9 Ways to Get WOWs From Your Holiday Season Networking, from Basic Training Boot Camp: Networking for Straight Shooters.

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