Don’t sweat it. Well, actually, do. Networking can be a nightmare without a solid strategy, but we’re learning about one that actually sounds… fun? You may have heard of sweatworking, but have you actually tried it yet? It may be not include acroyoga, as shown above, but a walk to the park and back? Absolutely. We love the concept, partly because if the businessy stuff is a bust, we still fit in a great workout!
Enterprising ladies, Lauren McGoodwin and Kit Warchol of Career Contessa are refreshing us on the idea of this healthy, multitasking trend and getting us warmed up to try it in real life…
You’re in a crowded room and your nerves are getting the best of you. Your cheeks flush and your forehead is slick with sweat…
Does this sound a lot like your last networking experience? Maybe, but we’re actually talking about sweatworking. And no, we didn’t make that up. But it is the newest craze you need to know about — and since we typically write career advice for women who are overbooked most days with meetings, happy hours and side gigs, we’re all about it.
What is sweatworking?
Okay, so sweatworking isn’t exactly a real word, but it is a real thing. Rather than going to a stuffy networking event, you plan your professional social time around exercise. When you think about it, businessmen have been doing this for years on the golf course. But because women are cooler than men (what, like you weren’t thinking the same thing?) we’re taking it a step farther by getting a real workout in.
Why should I try sweatworking?
Why would you want to exercise with someone you’re trying to impress? It sounds odd, but in reality it’s way less awkward than milling around a hotel conference room with strangers. Plus, considering you probably have too many commitments already, combining your spin class with a work meeting isn’t a bad way to go.
And while it may be uncomfortable at first — especially if you’re doing this with a stranger or boss — after a few minutes of working out, everyone lets their guard down and relaxes. Endorphins beat cocktails any day. And that whole “we’re all in this together” mentality really does something.
Since exercising is about focusing on your body and destressing, you probably won’t actually talk about work with your sweatworking partner, which is the secret to being a really good networker. Networking can feel forced and like both parties are only interested in what they can gain. By finding common ground that isn’t work related you’ll start to form a real connection. Everyone is more likely to help someone they’ve connected with on a deeper level.
How do I start sweatworking?
Let’s start internally. It’s important to network within your own company and exercising is a fun way to get to know your coworkers, without navigating the rocky waters of alcohol-laden happy hours. Networking is a never ending process, and like any relationship in your life, you have to continuously cultivate your professional relationships. Which is why we like to keep track of our efforts with this networking tracker. That way you never let any relationships slip through the cracks.
Next time your boss mentions how they haven’t been to yoga in a while, invite them to your favorite studio with you after work. At lunch, when a coworker mentions they can never find a consistent tennis partner, volunteer yourself.
For people you don’t know that well, it can be a bit trickier and you will have to get creative. Maybe you’ve used Bumble to meet dates, but have you used Bumble BFF to make new friends? It’s the perfect place to find someone as obsessed with cardio barre as you are. When you’re at an actual networking event and a someone shares they’re new to the area, offer to take them on a hike that ends in a view that can’t be missed. And don’t forget to introduce yourself to people you meet in your classes. You never know who might be your next boss.
Would you ever try sweatworking? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Valid idea. Ridiculous name. Can our entire sex collectively agree NOT to use the word sweatworking ever again, please?