Networking During the Summer
Summer is the time to kick back, relax, and enjoy friends and family in great weather. But our businesses don’t shut down in the summer, and it’s important to keep that pipeline full. The solution? Switch gears and do some summer style networking! This season there are plenty of festivals, shows, camps and other fun activities in your community to participate in. But how to feature your business and make those important contacts? Here is a list of do’s and don’ts for summer networking:
DO volunteer in your community. It’s a great way to give back, meet people, and develop those long-lasting relationships. Check out FVEPA’s calendar of events for potential volunteer opportunities.
DON’T be too forward. People are more laid back in the summer, especially when they’re out with their families. If the conversation gets around to work, roll with it. But don’t force it, you’ll come off as pushy.
DO be ready with business cards, pen and paper (or a phone). If someone wants a follow-up call or email, you’ll be ready.
DON’T be too focused about your networking goals. This is the time to gently build relationships, not to collect business cards.
DO practice telling others what you do and why you do it. People want to hear what you’re passionate about; it reminds them about what they’re passionate about.
DON’T forget to ask people about themselves and their work. This rule is actually good all year: you should always ask more questions about other people than talk about yourself. That guy who won’t stop talking about his job and his life without asking about yours is the guy who bores everyone: don’t be that guy!
DO have fun. We all want to work with and employ fun people who get along well with others and know when to cut loose, so leave your serious hat at home.
DON’T be too fun. Draw the line before intoxication, even in the summer. No one wants to hire drunky from the fair.
DO realize that networking is long term. It’s basically making friends, but money is hopefully exchanged. You didn’t make all of your friends on the first day of school; some you did, and others came later. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make a certain number of contacts: the right people will show up and your only job is to connect with them. Don’t stress yourself out about anything else.
~Brianna Carson, What Would Audrey Wear?