If you know the first thing about networking, it’s a year-round and round-the-clock undertaking. If you want to be an efficient, effective networker, you always need to be “on.” That networking takes place all year doesn’t mean, however, that networking is the same throughout the year. Different seasons beget different opportunities. Spending an evening with your coworkers in a crowded mess hall for a company Christmas party and meeting a prospective business partner for an early morning round of golf require different attitudes, preparations, and skillsets. Networking over the summer presents unique challenges and offers different avenues for success, and you should prepare as such. From BNI to you, here are a few ways that you can prepare for networking success this summer.
First off, change your attitude, things move at a different pace over the summer, that’s just the way it is. An all-work, no play, business-first mindset may not play out as well over the summer as it does at other times of the year. Relax and let conversations evolve naturally- don’t force things. When you meet a co-worker, manager, or potential business partner outside of work, they know you’re getting together because of shared or prospective business interests. They know, and you know that conversation will happen at some point, so let it happen organically.
You’ll want to get ready for what the season has to offer as well. Like I said earlier, summer presents unique opportunities for networking, so be ready for them. Practice your golf swing, seek out the restaurants with the best patios in your city, host or attend barbecues with your friends and family to get comfortable in the environment- whatever you need to do to get excited about and comfortable with summer networking, do it.
Prepare your wardrobe. It’s shallow and superficial, I know, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. The way you present yourself can be as important as what you bring to the table professionally, so make the best presentation you can. As seasons change, so too do standards of dress. Give your wardrobe a thorough investigation and ensure you have the polos, slacks, golf shirts and well-ventilated collared shirts you need before summer rolls around to ensure you always have the potential to make a strong first impression.
Get ready to host your events. The single best way to ensure you have all of the networking opportunities that you need to succeed is to create them yourself. If there aren’t enough solid networking opportunities in your area- or even if there are- planning and hosting your garden party, barbecue, or another get-together can be an excellent way to position yourself for network growth and professional success. The set-up can be a lot of work, but the pay-off is well worth it; as the centre of attention and the life of the party, you’ll generate social and professional value for yourself like never before.
These tips lay a solid foundation for networking success this summer, but we’ve got a lot more to offer. Continue to check-in with our blog in the coming weeks and months for more networking tips and tricks.