This article will give you practical tips that will help you be a better “giver” in your professional relationships, but not overextend yourself to the point where you’re being detrimental to your own goals or at risk of burnout.
Our professional relationships have a major impact on our career trajectory, and approaching them with a generous, “giver” attitude is going to help them flourish.
However, According to Stephanie Hanna, a successful attorney and the founder of The Other 85, overextending yourself and being a bit too generous can leave you in a position where you’re not meeting your own needs or able to grow as a business professional.
Understanding your limits and setting goals based on those limits is key to not overextending yourself. It may be tempting to book every lunch meeting you get in an attempt to reach the top of the business world, but it leaves you drained, reduces your productivity, and overall provides more to the people you’re meeting with than what you receive.
This goes for everything that you may be dedicating your time to while networking. Hanna recommends setting a series of realistic goals to combat this issue.
For instance, if you have 24 lunch breaks a month, don’t schedule 24 different out-of-office networking opportunities. You have to have time to yourself, too.
It can be difficult to decline a lunch meeting with a valuable lead or potential business partner, but if you don’t give yourself time to recharge and focus on other things, you won’t effectively maintain those relationships.
Instead, with the example above, only schedule 12 out-of-office lunch meetings. This ensures you’re giving enough of your time to your network, but it doesn’t drain you by taking away all your “me time”.
Use A Calendar:
Sometimes, it’s simply a necessity to have your schedule laid out in front of you with all the time allotments you planned for your networking efforts. This not only reminds you that you have a networking responsibility to tend to, thus ensuring you give your time and energy to those relying on you, but it also allows you to draw boundaries for yourself.
If you know you have 30 minutes dedicated to a lunch meeting, consider that a firm boundary. Don’t go out of your way to extend it to an hour at your own expense.
Doing this consistently will help with your time-management efforts, while also allowing you to properly network.
Utilize Remote Communication:
In the past, meeting in-person was often seen as a necessity. However, the pandemic has shown us that high-level networking can be done remotely.
Meeting in person certainly has benefits but it’s also time-consuming, and it demands a lot of extra energy. You owe it to yourself to utilize remote communication often, too.
Remote communication may not allow for the same person-to-person bonding, but it saves you time and allows you to strictly manage your networking efforts without being detrimental to the rest of your responsibilities.
You can opt to schedule phone meetings, discuss business-related issues and deals through email, or even take advantage of the advent of high-quality video chat to combine the best of both worlds to a degree.
Remember, this, like most other professional communication, is an informal negotiation. If you’re the first to suggest a call or video chat, this will be a lot easier to manage.
When pleasing others leads you to forgo your own needs and deny how you really feel, you will end up feeling frustrated, unappreciated, or misunderstood.
People respect you more when you are clear with your boundaries, personal values, and goals. Take the time you need to think things through, dig deeper, and then make the right decision.
You can’t contribute more value if you have nothing left to give. Say yes to yourself first, and then you’ll find the confidence to make a healthy choice.