I don’t need to tell you that if you want to stay competitive in today’s business environment, continual and effective networking is a must. As things tend to quiet down, and people take on a more laid-back attitude, keeping up with your networking over the summer months can prove challenging. It doesn’t need to be the case, though as there are certainly ways to fit networking effectively into your summer schedule and integrate it into your summer activities.
Firstly, divide your work into small chunks. One of the most mentally challenging aspects of working full-time over the summer - especially if you’re an outdoorsy type like myself - is looking outside and realizing you’re spending a beautiful summer day cooped up indoors. If you can, don’t set aside hours and hours in a row at your laptop each day scanning your social networks and setting up meeting after meeting in crowded restaurants and coffee shops. Break things up with a walk around the block, a bike ride downtown or even just a quick step outside to smell the fresh air. You’ll come back to what you’re doing rested and refreshed and all the more motivated and productive for it.
Continuing along the same lines, try to adapt the networking you would be doing to suit the summer climate and atmosphere. Rather than sitting on your couch and trying to make connections, take your device down to a local restaurant or café and work on the patio with a drink or an app in hand or turn your coffee meeting into a walk through the park. There’s no sense sacrificing the summer months when you can likely create a better experience for you and those you’re connecting with by making a few simple tweaks to what you would already be doing.
To cover the last of the major bases, try networking during your regularly scheduled summer activities. We recently published a blog called “Is Golfing the New Way to Network?” (you can see that here) discussing ways in which you can bring a more enjoyable and even a more personal touch to your networking by taking it to the green. The principles behind why networking on the course work with other activities as well, if you’re a fisherman, tennis player, or barbecuer extraordinaire, find ways to make your work less work and bring your contacts or colleagues over to the lake, court, or backyard for the afternoon. You’ll find yourself more comfortable and relaxed in the familiar environment and the benefits that yields will present themselves in your results.
Most importantly, remember that just because things tend to die down over the summer months and you find yourself less willing to put the time in doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make it just as, if not more, enjoyable and productive. Many people aren’t willing to put the work in and go the extra mile, so seize the opportunity it creates and do yourself a favour. You’ll soon be reaping the benefits.