Is there ever a time to NOT network? Since I’m the “networking guru” you would think that you could predict my answer before anyone else can beat you to it. My answer might surprise you though, because in my book, the answer is yes, there is a time to not network!
I recently returned from a high powered, high energy conference with about 1500 attendees. The conference agenda was crammed with meaningful sessions and many of the topics were foreign to me. I had to don my learning hat all day long. Additionally, the attendees were all very engaged, involved and energized by getting to see each other. Lots of loud conversation abounded. Added to all that this was my first year at this conference, so I was feeling my way as best as I could. The evening of the third day was the award dinner and entertainment event. Even though I had paid in advance for this, I made a decision to not go. I realized that my networking tank was empty. I didn’t want to converse with one more person nor did I want to sit one more minute in an uncomfortable seat. Basically I was burned out.
This permission to bow-out was necessary for me at that time. I just didn’t have an energy reserve to make it all happen. I knew that I still had one more day of conference learning and socializing and decided to let myself off the hook to add a bit a fuel to make it through the next day.
I am positive that you have found yourself in similar situations. I am giving you permission (not that you need it!) to take a breather. You will be much better for it, as was I.