My best friend was a pretty decent sprinter – Not amazing, but good enough. In all the competitions he’d bag the top three positions. He’d smash down the 100m in about 12.5 seconds and would often leave his competitors (including me) in his dust. Deep down, I envied him. I wanted to be like him but no matter how hard I tried, sprinting just wasn’t for me. So I tried out something else.
I became a marathon runner (not literally, I was 15… but I did learn to win at middle distance). I loved planning things, so this was my time to thrive. Instead of just running fast, I planned from the start and paced myself. I got to see how my competitors did their thing and found a way to beat them to it. I was never among the first ones at the start of the race. I maintained my strides and saved my energy for the last two laps where I’d sprint my way to the finish line and throw my hands up victoriously.
Over time I’ve come to learn that networking is much like a marathon, rather than a sprint. This is Tip 1 in our E-book on “How to survive your first networking event.”
Why success in Business Networking is like a marathon
A marathon takes a long time. Practising for it takes even longer. When preparing for a marathon, you’re going to need endurance. Similarly, your first networking event may be completely out of your comfort zone. You always have to look at the bigger picture. There will be times when you think “Hmm, maybe this isn’t for me.” In some instances it may be true, but you have to give it a try and be really patient while at it. Because when it comes down to it, networking is extremely beneficial. It is cost effective and high value marketing for small business owners with little budget for marketing. It strengthens business connections and helps you to raise your profile.
How to prepare for a marathon when going networking
Just like in a marathon, networking requires stamina. You may have to wake up earlier than usual, and you will need to be open to learning a lot of new things. Research on the networking group and find information about the members. Don’t forget to be yourself. In the E-book on How to survive your first networking event, We say, “Building trusting relationships takes time, energy and commitment just like any other relationship in your life.”
When you look at it as a marathon and not a sprint, things become a little easier. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself for not doing things right the first or second time. It’s a journey, and you have to trust the process of networking. With time, I’m sure that you will get the hang of it. Just remember that it takes time to perfect the craft. Results won’t happen overnight. Good things come to those who wait.
Networking will not work for you if you are looking for a quick fix. In fact, people who go networking only when they need it rarely ever reap its full benefits. It’s not going to be an overnight success. You have to pace yourself and be in it for the long haul, just like a marathon.
So go ahead and book your next networking event, knowing that just like a marathon you’ll have to pace yourself. With time, you will interact with business owners like yourself and gain a fresh perspective on how to succeed in the business world.