It’s time to talk networking. Yes again!
It really is THAT important. It’s summertime and it's beautiful out and there are sundresses being worn and dogs in the park playing and ice cream to be eaten… so sometimes it can be hard to focus on the job, and that's okay!
It’s normal for there to be a little dip in your productivity during the warmer months and I'm a huge advocate of going on vacation (check out this link to a blog post with a lot of stats about why you must take a vacation).
But, here’s the thing: summertime, in terms of networking, is the time when you absolutely shouldn't let it slow down but you should ramp it up! This time of year is when networking is the easiest, the most relaxed, the most chill, the least formal. This truly is the best season to network, hands down.
You know you need to network but did you know that summer makes it so easy because people are out and about. They're not hibernating with a bowl of chili and a big sweater on their couch, they are out in the world doing things because it's nice out. It’s that simple. There are barbecues, there are sporting events, there are a bajillion and twelve kids events, your spouse's company picnic, being out playing golf, at the pool, at the local beer garden… whatever!
Since people are out and about this is when it's naturally a really easy time to talk to them.
Networking doesn't have to be: super formal at a networking event “Hello I'm so and so here's my business card I'm looking for the following three things what brought you here today” networking. This is the time to say “hey, I noticed you drinking that news special cider this beer garden’s putting out... what do you think?” networking. This is the time for getting into a genuine conversation.
This is the chance to meet and talk and network with the other parents at your kids soccer camp. This is the time to talk to your spouse's co-workers. This is the time to really interact - when people have naturally let their guard down and picked up a softball glove.
If you're sitting by the pool at a swim meet , you know you've got a few hours to kill and so does the person sitting next to you. If you’re at a BBQ, you’ve probably got a beer in your hand, or you’re helping someone get some potato salad ready, this is the time to meet people. This is the time to chat - because there’s not any pressure - exactly because it isn't in a formal setting.
People are more open to meeting new people and just chit-chatting. These tend to be the relationships that turn into real, valuable, long-term relationships that may not fulfill an immediate need you have for your career right now but lead to the long-term growth, the long term career success. Who knows though, it absolutely might lead to an immediate career milestone!
Even though it’s summer, we are still adults going to work everyday. When people aren't at the beach or on the field trip with the kids, they're still functioning in work mode but they’re a bit more relaxed because: summer.
So, yes be strategic with your networking to a certain point - if you know someone who would be great for your network is at an event definitely go talk to them but make sure it isn't disingenuous, make sure you're genuinely willing to not only chat with them but offer them assistance as well and don't pinpoint them just because they could help you out in your career - but because you're at the same friend’s, cousin’s birthday BBQ.
Make sure you make a genuine connection: one solid, genuine, connection that you make at some outdoor event this summer is going to be worth 15 LinkedIn connections of people who connected to you but that you don't know personally.
This is a quality versus quantity situation.
Summer is the time people are just a little bit more relaxed, a little bit more open to talking and it just is the best time to network, I promise you. So get out there, enjoy the summer sunshine, enjoy the outdoor activities, make those connections and genuinely further your career.
If you have any summertime networking tips - pop them in the comments I would love to hear them!
Yours in career goodness-