This past summer, I was invited to a Durham Bulls baseball game. The Bulls were down 3 to 1. They had men on 1st and 3rd and it was the bottom of the 8th. There was a batter at the plate. A couple of minutes earlier, I noticed when he should have been warming up off to the side, he took a couple of swings with his bat, but really wasn’t exerting himself at all. As a matter of fact, his swings looked pretty lazy. I’m guessing the only reason he was doing those warm up swings at all was because he was expected to. When he got to the plate, the pitcher threw 2 balls. Then a strike. The batter foul tipped the next pitched. 2 balls, 2 strikes. The pitcher threw another ball. 3 balls, 2 strikes. The next pitch was thrown right down the middle. It was a home run pitch. The batter swung and connected with the ball. It was up. It was approaching the left field wall. Then the ball began to fall out of the sky, right into the left fielders mitt. While this batter was at the plate, I noticed the next batter was warming up off to the side. He had a big red donut on his bat. He swung practice swings multiple times. I lost count only because I was also watching the batter at the plate. He warmed up almost the entire time the batter was at the plate. When it was his turn to get up to the plate, he approached the plate and did what appeared to be his ritual. He rubbed a little dirt on the hands. He banged his bat on each cleat. Rubbed his hands again. Then he took his stance. The 1st pitch came. He didn’t swing. Strike 1. He knew that wasn’t his pitch. The next 2 pitches, he didn’t swing at. A ball and another strike. The 4th pitch was going to be his pitch. The pitcher wound up and threw a beautiful curve ball. The batter swung and connected. The crack of the ball hitting the bat was such a lovely sound. The ball blasted threw the air and sailed over the left field wall into the restaurant that sits over the left field. Homerun! The Bulls won the game 4 to 3.
There are many times when I walk into a networking event, I just don’t feel like I want to immediately start schmoozing. I’m cold and not ready to network. I need some warming up. If there are sponsors at the event, that is a great opportunity to warm up. These sponsors pay to have a spot at these events and want to talk to as many people as they can so as to feel like they have gotten their moneys worth. Go talk to a couple of the sponsors. Break up that internal ice you may be feeling. A little conversation with someone that really wants to talk to you can go a long way in helping you to relax and get on your game. You see, just like that batter warming up, you may need some warming up before approaching that big prospect you are hoping to connect with. You want to be focused and ready when you swing for that homerun. Get loose and connect with all the power you have.