(from The Networker’s Guide to Success*)
What’s Networking Burnout? It’s like other kinds of emotional burnout. You get it from doing too much and not “giving it a rest”. It can happen at any time but people are extremely vulnerable at the end of the year or end of a quarter when they begin to focus on what’s not done.
I was recently at a meeting and someone I respect said if you’re a good networker, you’re always networking. She may be right but it can be draining so don’t let it happen to you.
How to Avoid Networking Burnout
- Don’t have too many goals to accomplish. Focus on the most important. Prioritize the others.
- Only go to meetings that are worth your time and effort. If you examine your goal and this meeting can really help, go. Otherwise, go spend some time with a friend. Enjoy the experience of being comfortable with someone you trust for awhile.
- Don’t try to meet everyone when you’re at a networking event. Don’t try to followup with everyone either. Be choosy.
- Set up a networking system that you can follow and follow it. This means have a database that you can refer to and easily make changes including additions and deletions. A system helps you do things more automatically and not have things that fall through the cracks or get away from you. If you spend too much time or are too anxious about your contacts or what they said, you will burn out for sure.
- Immediacy is good but not always critical. Don’t feel you always have to share or act on the information your network provided in the next second. Sometimes, it’s that important but not always. If you stay in crisis mode, you’ll burn out faster. Take time to think through before you act.
- Find a network partner or partners to share the load. If you have strategic alliances set up with members of your network, then the work gets done faster and easier.
- Don’t go over and over things you didn’t do for your network or that they recommended to you that you didn’t or haven’t done yet. It’s probably ok. You need to be choosy here, too. It may have been more important for you to be somewhere else or help someone else in your network. It’s your choice. Make the best decisions you can, adjust when you’re off base, and relax.
- If all else fails, take a nap. Seriously, do something different and take your mind off networking completely.
If Networking Is Too Much Trouble, You’re Overdoing It
The thing I hate to hear most is “I tried Networking and it was too much trouble.” That’s a sure sign someone is burned out. It shows they tried too hard on the wrong things. They need to stop to enjoy having a support system of others who work on their behalf. They will do better to be satisfied with acting on what they could. If you see Networking Burnout happening to someone, do something. Don’t let it happen to you or someone in your network.