Summer is just about here and we've actually passed Memorial Day in the U.S. which marks for us the unofficial start to summer.
You probably know all too well about the “summer slowdown” – that time of year when everyone seems to be on vacation or planning one. So big plans are tabled until fall, and unless you are in a seasonal business and this is your time of year it’s easy to feel like your business or career growth is in a bit of a slump.
Now I know not everyone listening to this podcast is in the northern hemisphere so if you are living somewhere and it's getting colder outside keep this episode in your back pocket as a future reference.
What I want to offer you in this episode is some reasons why it’s important to continue to network through the summer and some ways you can do it without feeling like you’re missing out on enjoying the gorgeous weather.
What better time than during the longer sunny days to be face-to-face networking?
In fact, recent economic downturns have caused many shifts in how we do business. Customers today are now significantly more cautious when making decisions to buy anything, and there is a continuing – and growing – push to “buy local”.
And how does this compare to social networking - making connections with others via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or any of the many social platforms?
You might be wondering how in-person networking opportunities measure up against online social networking.
Here’s the thing: social networking is an awesome tool for your business that you can use to connect with people anywhere, anytime –virtually every successful business owner knows that. However, it is most effective as an awareness tool to be used to create more touchpoints before someone is willing to take a meeting or buy a product or service.
If you want to really accelerate your business or career growth – make more sales, hone your in-person communication skills, and even get new inspiration for your business – face-to-face networking is the answer.
1. Schedule 1-2-1 meet-ups at establishments with outdoor seating. Who said you had to sit indoors for the meeting to be more professional? Enjoy your meeting outdoors while you take in the beauty of a summer’s day. I love the idea of chatting with like-minded people in a friendly, open-aired environment.
Bonus tip: schedule these for mid-afternoon on Friday and call it your "last appointment." The pleasant meet-up and knowing you'll be starting your weekend early will motivate you to get work done in the morning.
2. Network while doing a summertime activity that you enjoy -Whether it's hiking, golfing, sailing or walking a nature trail you can network and enjoy the beautiful weather. Again, networking is not limited to sitting indoors. Let’s change our paradigm to suit the summer season.
3. Attend a conference to get involved in your field and make the connections you need to grow your business or your career. Here, you can connect with potential referral partners, joint venture partners, and connectors. This may involve travel to some cool places or at the very least get you out of your normal environment for a little while. Perhaps even be a tourist or a tour guide in your own backyard as you plan activities with other conference goers.
4. Volunteer - at fundraising walks, 5Ks, triathlons, or for any cause that resonates with you. Put some of the time you have this summer to good use by giving back to the community. Plus, you’re likely to meet a diverse group of people from all walks of life who share a common interest with you - or perhaps who will need your services or could offer you your next big opportunity.
5. Just be social! After all, it is summer – the time of backyard BBQs, endless youth & church events, annual picnics, college (and family!) reunions...you name it! Yes, these events may seem more “personal” rather than “business”, but who knows who you might meet up with?
No matter what summer networking opportunity you decide to take advantage of, remember my #1 tip...
Don’t network specifically to “make a sale”. You are there to meet people. Is every single person you meet able to provide you a new opportunity? Of course not – but it doesn’t mean they’re not worth getting to know!
If you’re new to networking, I know how frustrating this can be. Over time, you’ll be able to polish your networking skills and reap the benefits of quality relationships.
It’s summer – use this season to your benefit by taking advantage of all the great networking opportunities that exist beyond the confines of your office. Get out there, start shaking hands and making eye contact – with real people – not with your computer screen!
Lastly, I would like to make a request. If you find value in this podcast please share it with your like-minded friends and colleagues. I am so grateful to the people in my life who shared their favorite books, courses and podcasts with me because they changed my life. And I remember exactly who shared those resources with me. Let’s continue to share the love and pay it forward.
As always I hope this was of value to you and here’s to your success!
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