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Networking! It's As Cold As Ice So Take the Plunge

It’s no secret that for many, networking can send chills down their spine, freeze them in their tracks, and plunge them into an anxious headspace. And even if you like meeting new people, reconnecting with old colleagues and friends, networking can be hard (to get in the right mindset), uncomfortable (if not practiced), yet exhilarating (when it’s done and you’ve made awesome connections).

Who knew, doing a cold plunge is exactly the same?   How do I know this?

  1. I’ve been a networking coach for nearly 10 years and not only do I coach but I go to a ton of networking events.  I apply the tactics that I coach because yes, even I find networking uncomfortably hard at times. 

  2. I just started my cold plunge journey thanks to my good friend and business partner Keith Bailey and you know what I found, it was hard (to get in), uncomfortable (at first, but then got better) and exhilarating (once done).

Yes, I immersed myself into a body of water with a temperature of 57 degrees. And it wasn't as bad as I imagined because I prepared and executed the same way I do for networking events and I had a coach supporting me and holding me accountable.  

Ice baths, also known as cold plunges or cold water immersion, have become somewhat mainstream for their positive effects on stress management, aiding in muscle recovery, reducing inflammation in the body, improving clarity and reducing depression/anxiety (Cold Plunge Benefits).


It’s crazy how much information there is on how to do cold plunges - from preparing the water to doing Wim Hof breathing before getting in, from how long to immerse each time to frequency of plunging to get the most benefit.

Yet with networking, something we’ve been told we need to do in order to be successful, it feels like there’s a fraction of this kind of guidance.  We’re somehow just expected to show up to an association meeting or a company wide BBQ, strike up meaningful conversations, and have fun. That is not reality. 

When we want to try something new, something nerve racking or something that makes our palms sweat or numbs them, your success rate increases exponentially with a coach by your side

Keith Bailey had been sharing that as a result of consistently doing cold water immersion he was feeling more focused, less stressed and that his body felt ready to tackle the world.  I thought “I want some of that!”.  So the next day I turned my shower on cold and said to myself, “Ok Alyce, you can do this, just step in and breathe”. I put one arm in. The pellets of cold water hitting my skin were like a million needles stabbing me. I could feel my heart thumping in my chest and I could barely breathe, the one thing I had told myself to do.  And just like that, I had an epiphany. Is this how most people feel when going into a networking event when they don’t know a single soul?  I bet it is.  And, you know what I say to people who have this kind of reaction to networking?  Get Coaching! So that’s what I did. I cranked the shower to hot and determined to work with Keith on doing cold water immersion. I didn’t realize it would be the next day the coaching would begin.  

I showed up at AI HQ (aka Keith’s house) in the morning and because the universe has a sense of humor, Keith was preparing to do an ice bath before the work day started and asked if I wanted to join.  The only answer to that question was YES (while shaking my head no). 

We started by doing some breathing exercises and that helped calm my nerves and give me focus when the time came for me to step into the ice bath. Next, Keith outlined 5 steps to have a positive experience and instead of just telling me, he showed me. 

Step #1 - Reframe Your Mindset

Instead of, “Holy bananas, this is going to be so cold and terrible”, I came up with, “I am brave, I can do this.”

Step #2 - Utilize Your Body

Inhale, put one leg in, put the next leg in and exhale. Take a nice deep breath, and immerse your entire body into the water, exhale.

Step #3 - Set a Goal

Commit to breathing slowly while staying in the water for a minimum of 3 minutes. The faster you breathe the more you’re telling your brain that you’re in potential danger and that’s counterproductive. 

Step #4 - Find the Comfort in the Uncomfortable

Try different blog formats each time. One month, post a day in the life, then try a How-To or a Q&A. There are many templates to help you get started.

Step #5 - Congratulate Yourself for Doing Something Hard and Commit to Doing It Again

Once you’re time is up, slowly stand up, put one leg out, followed by the other, grab a warm towel then jump around with ecstatic joy, not just to congratulate yourself, but to help you warmup.  Once your teeth have stopped chattering, verbally commit to your coach when you’ll do your next plunge.

It’s chilling how similar these 5 steps are to what we at Articulated Intelligence share with clients on realizing an RON.   Let’s take a look:

Step #1 - Reframe Your Networking Mindset

Instead of thinking, “arghh this is going to suck”, think “I wonder what new people I’ll meet or things I’ll learn”.   This becomes even more of a reality when you set networking goals (see Step 3).

Step #2 - Utilize Your Body

Breathe and utilize your body to communicate on your behalf - smile, stand with your arms by your side, make eye contact, don’t be on your phone (good advice for both networking and ice baths).

Step #3 - Set a Goal

Set a goal(s) before stepping into your networking event (e.g. meet 3 new people, learn about a new industry, make introductions between people in your network). 

Step #4 - Find the Comfort in the Uncomfortable

Instead of defaulting to only talking about work, find a “comfortable topic” by putting the person before the profession.  You can do this by asking a question like “What’s been the best part of your week vs. what do you do?

Step #5 - Congratulate Yourself for Doing Something Hard and Commit to Doing It Again

If you’ve hit your goal, give yourself permission to leave. Share with your coach what went well, what didn’t go so well, and commit to your next event.

At Articulated Intelligence we'll help you take the plunge into achieving an RON.  When you reach your goal, we'll celebrate with a cold plunge!  You know you want to...

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