Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. Most people have already planned their summer vacations and activities that will help them unwind and get away from the norm. It seems like networking and making new business connections should be put on the back burner during summer, but this is far from true. Your strategy and approach to summer networking should change, but not be eliminated altogether.
Summer is a great time to leverage the connections you’ve made throughout the year. You can also meet new people at social events which are more relaxed and less intimidating. Here are 7 tips to help you master the art of summer networking.
1. Invite your contacts to a social event. This can be a plus one for private events or an open invitation for larger ones. Events such as golf tournaments, fashion shows or mixers provide great opportunities to interact with your contacts without the pressure of making business deals.
2. Host your own event such as a brunch and invite those you want to get to know. Make it a small and intimate gathering so you can maximize effective interaction.
3. Throw a client appreciation party and allow them to bring a guest. Four must-have’s for a client appreciation party are a thank-you gift, a presentation highlighting company news and updates, delicious food and drinks and entertainment.
4. Take your company’s social responsibility up a notch by adopting a cause. Summer is a great time to get on the committee of a non-profit organization to help them plan their fall and spring fundraisers.
5. Participate in a summer run and gather a team. This team does not have to run with you, but can help with your fundraising efforts. Provide a variety of options so people can get involved at their own leisure.
6. Attend local networking events alone. Although they will decrease significantly, there will still be business mixers in the summer. Go to those alone and make sure you have a purpose beyond passing out business cards. Invite people you meet to your events or others you will be attending. Go alone so you will be forced to meet new people.
7. Join a local food tour group. These are groups that tour restaurants in a specific area, tasting new foods and wines. You can invite your connections to participate with you or go to meet new people. What better way to make lasting connections than over food and wine. Tours can also be customized just for you.
Summer is not the time to stop networking and business building. It is the time to have fun while making new connections and leveraging old ones.