Today’s column “Summer Not time to lounge around” may have had a misleading title! Of course, lounge, relax, enjoy the summer slowdown…but unless you are a professional who has 2 months of vacation then on the days when you’re expected to work, the message is, include networking as a priority. You can read three tips on how to do that in today’s column and here are a couple more:
Align your interests with networking. The summer is the perfect time to incorporate what you love to do with your professional networking efforts. Love hanging on the patio, playing a round of golf or playing beach volleyball? Invite contacts with similar interests to join you for such activities. Networking during hobbies that genuinely interest you can greatly increase your enjoyment and effectiveness. Forcing yourself to do activities that are not aligned with your interests or personality can make networking seem like a contrived chore – and we don’t want that.
Make plans with co-members from your networking group. Many networking groups, committees and volunteer boards take a hiatus for July and August. Instead of losing touch with fellow members, schedule time with them one-on-one or in small groups. Sometimes when we just attend meetings month after month the relationships don’t develop deeper than the official activity of the group. Changing the circumstances around meeting –such as moving from a board room to a patio – can change the dynamics of the connection.
In case you don’t want to link to the column, here is the copy:
Networking in the summer takes a different pace, but it shouldn’t stop. In fact, this is a prime time to strengthen relationships in your professional network. Since there are fewer facilitated networking opportunities and the pace feels more laid back, it’s easy to let the summer months slip away without growing your professional connections. Here are some ideas to help you maximize the summer slowdown from a networking perspective.
Set objectives. Like any good plan it begins with the end goals in mind. Think about your last year in business or with your career. What was missing? More importantly, who was missing? Is there a target group where you’d like to be more connected? Are there people who you’ve been meaning to connect with but it just hasn’t happened yet? If by September you could accomplish one thing that would make your professional life better, what would that be? Set a plan to make it happen.
Review your current network. Now is a great time to export your entire database and print it. Include your regular contact management system as well as online portals you use for professional connections such as Linked In. You can sit by the pool and go through them one by one. This exercise is so powerful to remind you of who you already know. Sometimes in networking we gravitate towards meeting new people and yet we have a gold mine of contacts already in our sphere of influence. This alone could create a list of 20 or 30 people who you can touch base with over the next few weeks.
Block networking time. For those who struggle to include networking into your schedule, try to block a day a week specifically for networking meetings. Those who love talking with people could conceivably get seven or eight meetings into a day – breakfast, a few morning coffees, lunch, afternoon tea, afternoon drink plus have dinner. Introverts are cringing with the idea of having that many one-on-one meetings in a day, but the point is it’s easy to do volume networking once you make it a priority.
What are you doing to ensure the summer doesn’t pass you by? Are you networking? What tips can you share with fellow readers?