These sunny days of summer pass so quickly. I hope you are getting some time to soak up the sun and truly enjoy this short season. I was able to spend a few days camping, hiking and kayaking last week. No cell coverage, no email and no social media was exactly what I needed. I am not a mountaineer but there is just something about standing on top of a mountain that makes me feel like I can do anything.
Now that I am back, I don’t want to spend all of my time indoors, focused on emails, meetings and invoicing. I love having time to change it up a little in my business. I want to share a few tips about how to optimize the sun and build your networks at the same time.
3 Best Ways to Network in the Summertime:
- Attend Outdoor Events: Take advantage of the pleasant weather and attend outdoor networking events; golf tournaments, outdoor fitness classes or events such as fun runs. Show up a little early and plan to stay a little later. These are perfect times to introduce yourself to other participants or event organizers. Sharing your experience or gratitude can help others remember you after the event is over. This can be a great time to ask questions about them, their goals for the next event. This can help you to identify where your offering, service or product might help them.
- Organize Social Gatherings: Host your own networking events to create a positive and lasting impression among your peers and potential clients. Organize a barbecue, beach outing, or a sports day, providing a platform for individuals to interact casually while still making valuable professional connections. We did a kayaking evening last summer with a group of female entrepreneurs – it offered a great opportunity to talk business in a laid back and relaxing environment.
- Volunteer for a Cause: Summer is a season of giving back to the community. Engaging in volunteering activities not only allows you to contribute to a good cause but also brings you into contact with people who are passionate about making a difference. These connections can be incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally.
And 3 Simple Strategies to Make it Even Better:
- Be approachable – It sounds simple but many of us feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable meeting new people. Be aware that looking at your phone or standing off to the side can come across as being unapproachable. Smile, introduce yourself and start by asking an open ended question that invites discussion. I love to ask people if they have vacation plans, what they like to do for fun outside of work or about any changes in their business during the summer months.
- Don’t Be Too Pushy: This isn’t the time or space to bombard someone with business cards or your latest offer. Focus on building the relationship and looking for common threads and mutual interests.
- Follow up: After networking events, don’t forget to follow up with the people you connected with. A personalized emails or message, letting them know how great it was to meet them and commenting or adding a little more to your conversation can help make people feel valued and seen. Sharing a resource can add to the value even further – “We were talking about hikes to do with small kids. Here is a link to a few of my personal favorites.” You might also suggest a future meet-up or call to explore potential collaborations.
Summer provides a golden opportunity to grow your professional network while enjoying the warmth of the season and getting to know people in a more casual setting. Attend outdoor events, host your gatherings, and volunteer to meet potential clients, partners, or mentors. Remember to be genuine, considerate, and responsive in your networking efforts. With these tips and practices in mind, you’ll make the most of your summertime networking and pave the way for a successful and fulfilling future. Happy networking!