Networking events can require a ton of preparation, but the other half of the battle is staying energized once you get there. Here are four ways to do so.
Give yourself a break
Jordana Valencia, Executive Director of Reach Labs and People Development Lead at IdeaSpace, writes in the Harvard Business Review about how entrepreneurs should “use microbreaks to reenergize during networking events.”
“Research shows that microbreaks, or nonwork periods of less than 10 minutes in duration, can help replenish a person’s energy resources so that they’re able to continue their work tasks. A one-minute break can be just as effective as taking a longer break of five or nine minutes! This makes microbreaks ideal for busy entrepreneurs,” she writes. “To have a reenergizing microbreak, founders should engage in an activity they enjoy that allows them to mentally detach from their networking tasks. A microbreak activity could be as simple as watching a funny video on YouTube or reading an engaging article on their phone. What’s important is that founders fully disengage from networking while they do the activity. To effectively disengage, try excusing yourself for a few minutes so that you can step away from the networking event.”
Don’t over-extend yourself
“If you consider the kind of work you do throughout the day, you might find that it falls into two categories: work that requires some human interaction and thus a more dynamic presence, and work you can do independently that doesn’t exhaust the same energy reserves. When possible, schedule these tasks around when you’re typically feeling most and least energetic during the day,” she writes. “It’s probably also helpful to set a limit for yourself. Maybe you want to commit to no more than three social engagements per week. Or, if you’re pitching a new idea to your team on Friday morning, schedule plenty of alone time for Thursday evening. Along those same lines, if you have a big event after work, aim for more low-key desk work that afternoon. Give yourself a chance to summon your strength and prepare for battle whenever possible.”
Have comfortable shoes with you
Ladies, whether they’re already on your feet or in your bag, you’re going to want to have comfortable shoes nearby.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch the professional heels that make you feel most powerful— just make sure that if they’re uncomfortable after a while, you’re never too far away from another option that will give your toes a rest.
But the same thing goes for everyone else: don’t struggle through networking events in uncomfortable kicks if you don’t have to.
Eat and drink up
Don’t even think about skipping breakfast and/or lunch– this will probably make it a whole lot harder for you to be your best in the company of others.
If you don’t eat and hydrate you won’t have enough energy to make valuable connections.