I have a confession to make: I have a very hard time with networking meetings.
As an introvert, a highly sensitive person, and an empath I find myself completely drained after a networking meeting. Most days, I feel like I’ve traveled 28 hours on an airplane after going to one.
I’m not a natural super-connector. I like to inspire. If I’m going to be in a group, I like speaking to the whole group and taking them on an empowering ride. Otherwise, I like 1:1 interactions with intimate, deep connection.
Deep connection does not happen during the networking meeting.
For years I have felt like a fish out of water. An outsider who doesn’t fit.
Maybe you know what its like…
The room is filled with everyone’s “stuff”
Their energy (positive or negative, frazzled or grounded)
The ripple effects of whatever type of day they had.
A fight with their husband, getting stuck in traffic or getting their 10th rejection in a row.
Then, there’s a kind of energetic talking stick coming at you and soon, whether you like it or not, everyone is looking at you and sending you all of their “stuff” on top of your own stuff.
Sometimes that’s just too much stuff in one room for one person to handle.
Then, I had an intuitive “aha.” What if, in order to give my all during networking meetings, I have to treat the event the same as I do when I’m leading an all day workshop? Huh …
When I’m leading an all day workshop I LOVE and embrace everyone’s stuff. I know what my role is and how to harness everyone’s stuff. I’m there to help them move through their stuff to get to the nourishing, creative place on the other side. And, in order to nourish myself enough to serve participants in an all day workshop, that’s the only public commitment I have that day. (By that I mean its the only thing on my calendar that will involve absorbing myself in the energy of other people – I’m still free to write or do anything else if I end up creatively inspired.)
For the past few months I’ve applied this process to networking. I nourish myself before the networking meetings so that I can give my presence, my energy and my focus to the group. I can access my intuition in the service of others just like I do when I’m leading. After the meeting, I crash, nap, recover, watch TV or follow a creative flow wherever it leads me.
I’ve learned that there can be meaningful connection during a networking meeting – the women gathering as a tribe kind.
The other kind of meaningful connection – intimate, one-on-one – happens because of and yet outside of the meeting. I love drinking coffee. I love talking and listening. I love deep connection!
Maybe this is how networking groups are supposed to work. Introductions in the meeting, go deeper into connection one-on-one???
Fortunately I found a group that only meets in the large taxing-for-introverts format once a month. In between the last two meetings, I connected with seven different people 1:1 – and I loved and valued every one of them.
I’m off to watch home shows now.
(Today the order of events was yoga, networking meeting, errands, creative flow, crash on couch).
I hope I’m getting the hang of this.
With passion & love,
PS – If this speaks to you, please share with your friends and loved ones.