Embrace Your Inner Clock for Happy Networking
I love that local chambers of commerce have events scheduled for times that are appropriate for any personality type and anyone’s prime time of day. Each of us has a different peak time of day. I am a night owl, so there is a good chance that if you meet me at a morning event, you will have an entirely opposing impression of me than that of your colleague who met me at an evening event. Meeting new people and making good connections is vital to keeping the momentum of your business moving forward, so why not embrace your prime meeting time, take advantage of your peak performance, and make your best impressions? For all of you who also are more mentally alert in the p.m., here are four reasons I love evening networking events:
- You can be mentally present. Knowing that there are 50 emails waiting for you as you walk into a networking event makes it a challenge to accurately hear what people are saying over the reminders chiming in your head. I find that at morning networking events, I am either distracted by the thought of all of the things on my agenda for the day, or I am distracted by the temptation to start sifting through email on my phone. On the other hand, at the end of the day when these anticipatory mental distractions have mostly ceased or been attended to, it can be much easier to relax, be present, and make real connections with the people you meet.
- Small talk is easier. If you are like me and have the unfortunate combination of introversion and nocturnality, you may also encounter great difficulty when trying to form tangible, real-time things to talk about at early morning events. At 7 a.m., what timely questions can you really ask anyone other than, “How did you sleep last night?”, or “Have they refilled the coffee yet?”. Everything else is still speculative at that point! There are tons more interesting, nitty gritty conversations to be had after the work day is over than before it has even begun. Plus, it’s much easier to position your service or product “solution” while a person’s “problem” is still fresh in his or her mind after living with it all day. (And a glass of wine calms the nerves much more effectively than a cup of coffee, in my opinion!)
- The crowd is fun. The early bird may indeed catch the worm, but the early bird who has a cocktail after a day of worm-catching is much more fun to do business with – at least for a creative firm like ours. We work hard and we play hard. After-5 events are ideal for finding like-minded individuals. And the food is better!
- The atmosphere is less business-y. It seems to me that people are more authentic at evening networking events. The locations and event formats tend to be less formal so the focus can be more about meeting other people for its intrinsic value, instead of having a goal of meeting a certain number of prospects and achieving a high rate of conversion. I think that this sets you up for even greater success because you are more likely to form lasting relationships when you aren’t solely or primarily thinking about how others can benefit you. People can let their guards down more easily.
What about you? What is your peak time of day to interact with and make connections with others?