Recently, I've had the opportunity to do some travelling - mostly for work and mainly to places I've never been. Ah, you might think this was terrific for making new friends, contacts and adventures. Of course it was - but it was also terrible for keeping up with my current circles.
I supposed I could have blogged about my adventures (though really, no one wants to hear about what I had for supper in Portland or how nice the admins were in NJ?). Honestly, I found myself too tired at the end of the day to reach out - even in cyberspace - to more than my kid.
I espouse keeping in touch. I made a commitment on this blog. I have long-standing relationships I value that require personal moments. So why is it that travelling broke all of this?
It gave me time to think and not just say/do.
So here's my current top 10 list for networking when you travel.
10 - Understand which points of contact should be part of your travels (i.e. my kid) and which can wait for your return.
9 - Don't feel guilty about taking a short break from those other relationships.
8 - Focus on the people you're meeting while away - this could be one of the few chances where you'll see them face-to-face.
7 - Be consistent in your approach with folks - if you're more reserved or more outgoing while travelling then ask yourself if you need to make adjustments (at home or away) to reflect your real style.
6 - Try not to introduce yourself by 'what you do' when away. If you're travelling in a business context, chances are they know why you're there. If you're on personal time, it's a great chance to showcase another of your many sides.
5 - There's no need to add everyone you meet to your network. You're looking for folks who offer new/interesting pieces to your approach to life/career/questions - and who might value your contributions. A pile of business cards is simply a pile if you don't genuinely want to have a conversation with the name(s) on the card.
4 - Don't post shots of yourself in your new bathing suit. Even if you found it on sale at Lord&Taylor and it's beautiful. Somethings only your mother would appreciate.
3 - Grab the chance to read - take information in instead of the constant output expected from us in our working lives. Murder mysteries count.
2 - Wonder how to really set up networking from a borderless, distance-agnostic perspective. Put that question out there.
1 - Let everyone know when you're home.