I recently had the good fortune of giving a back to back talk on networking to your accomplish your goals to two different groups of exceptionally gifted your software developers. As I presented on the importance of goal setting, planning and building charisma, feedback was positive, but the thing that stands out the most was a question on the second day:
“How do you find the energy to do it [network]?”
It was certainly a valid question. As much as I like to encourage effective networking by proper planning and goal setting, there is still an element that is necessary to put all the tips and techniques to good use: hustle.
The term hustle, when used on its own can already serve to tire one out. It is fairly easy to think of someone needing to be “on.” It goes back to the concept that some people get energized by interacting with people, but others feel emotionally drained. This is frequently the way people describe be difference between extroverts v. introverts. This leads some to believe that extroverts have a natural advantage when it comes to networking. I would counter though, that extroverts have an advantage in keeping up their energy level, but that does not mean they are doing any better job at networking.
This brings me back to hustle. Hustle, in a networking sense is about creating a plan and executing. Have your goals set for what you want (job, clients, mentor), plan accordingly (know who you are looking to meet and what you will say), and be likable (practice your charisma skills), and work a room or event, or list of people in a methodical and repeatable pattern. So, don’t get discouraged that you might not feel like you have the energy to work a room of 100 people. Set a smart goal to meet 5 strategic people who you might know will be present because you put in 10 minutes to review a guest list. Making your goals precise and “bite-sized.” can serve to take the edge off.