As we’re approaching the hottest part of summer, we’re all looking for ways to cool off. It’s important that your professional networking drive stays hot! Summer is a fantastic time to keep your networking momentum high. In the season of cookouts, pool parties, outdoor concerts, lake & beach days, charity events, and ball games, there are virtually endless opportunities to establish new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
Below are seven tips on ways to maximize your networking experience while enjoying all of the social engagements that the summer season has to offer.
If you start with a reasonable set of networking goals early, you can spend the remainder of your summer following your pre-established path. Your goals don’t have to be rigorous and time consuming. It is the season of kicking back and relaxing after all, but a goal of attending a fun event geared towards networking would be a great start.
2. New Venues
Is there a new restaurant or coffee shop in town that you’d like to check out? This is a great chance to ask a networking contact to meet you there and see what it’s all about! Not only is it a good excuse to try a new place, but it’ll offer plenty of sources for conversation to create a solid connection with your contact.
3. Treat a New Contact
When you’ve had a chance to get to know new contacts and stay in touch with them via LinkedIn, explore other ways to grow your professional relationship. Once you’ve figured out if they’re a basketball fan or a Bruce Springsteen fan, grab a pair of tickets and enjoy the fun and relaxed atmosphere. It’s a gesture that will go a long way with this contact.
4. Special Interest Groups
It’s not a bad idea to checkout sites like Meetup.com to connect with others that have similar interests as you! You don’t have to search for groups that are related to the industry you’re targeting although it doesn’t hurt to do so. As long as you’re meeting new people and building relationships, your network is bound to grow.
Taking part in or heading up committees for summertime events can be a fun way to network. Are there opportunities in your company to work on a summer intramural softball event or a family picnic? Working with various committees to plan and facilitate these events are prime opportunities to make new connections.
6. Charity Events
Get involved with outdoor charity events! These events can range from races to golf tournaments to even Habitat for Humanity-type building events. Either team up with some current networking contacts to go participate or go solo and seek out opportunities to build new relationships.
7. Happy Hour
Summer evenings make some of the best happy hour settings of the year. Take advantage of the extra daylight hours, beautiful sunsets, and warm breezes to enjoy a post-work cocktail and some music with a contact or group of contacts out on your favorite restaurant’s patio. It’s an unspoken rule not to exceed two drinks at networking sessions.
Don’t look at summer as an excuse to take a vacation from your networking efforts. This is a great time to get outdoors and keep your career moving in the right direction. With the ideas above, you should be able to find new contacts or build relationships with existing contacts without missing out on fun outdoor events![/fusion_text]