You might think that everyone takes a long holiday during the summer when it comes to networking. After all, who wants to spend a beautiful summer evening indoors exchanging business cards when you could be outside enjoying a dockside party or watching night fall over your favorite golf course?
Think of networking during the summer as a great opportunity to meet new people when the atmosphere is more conducive to establishing new relationships. Why?
You’ll meet the “regular” crowd. It’s kind of like joining a gym in January. In September and January, people who are not regular networkers come out of the woodwork. But during the summer, you’ll meet people who consider networking part of their regular routine, not those who come out when they need to pump up their business.
Fun locations and events may surprise you. Successful networking groups know that summer programming has to be fun. One chamber of commerce holds a scavenger hunt every summer, another plans their networking nights at waterside restaurants only. Be open to different kinds of events during this season.
Don’t equate casual events with low quality networking. A scavenger hunt puts you on a team, where you have to work well with others–that’s a great way for people to see your problem solving skills.
Be mindful of your attire. Summer is the easiest time for wardrobe gaffes. You may be attending a dockside event, but you are still a professional. For men, a button down shirt and khakis can work if that is what others are wearing–bring a sport jacket just in case. For women, the rules are more relaxed than in the past, but a summer business event still calls for a certain level of professional attire.
And don’t forget, whatever the season–networking is about building relationships, not handing out business cards. Don’t let too much time slip by between the networking event and meeting up for lunch with potential new contacts.