Tips for Summer Networking Like a Professional

Summertime offers all the ingredients for amazing networking events – beautiful weather, big smiles, and cold drinks. The scene sounds like the perfect opportunity for a networking event. However, it’s important to keep some things in mind before focusing your party on networking activities. Approaching the party scenario as a way to allow the invitees to let loose, enjoy one anothers’ company, socialize, and enjoy the outdoors will set the tone for your guests that you understand the pressures they are under at work, and that you want to create a space for them to forget about them for a short while. Allow them to leave their “professional psyche” at the door when they walk in, and focus more on building positive relationships not solely developed around work.

With that in mind, it is best to be prepared and know how to concisely describe the best of you or the best of what you do. Allow them to make the decision of whether they’d like to delve deeper into that conversation.

Making the most of the summer socializing season without alienating those around you will require some room-reading skills and nuanced conversation. Being overt about your networking attempts will pull people out of the fun they are trying to have. Not only are you likely to be politely shot down by those parties who are completely disinterested, you may be remembered more for your “buzz kill” tactics than for who you really are. If you enter the event or party as an opportunity to relish in the celebratory aspects of life, you will have an easier time viewing a new contact as a beneficial by-product of having a good time – your whole demeanor will present this to those around you.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take an interest into the people celebrating around you. It’s important to keep in mind that people remember those with whom they have a good time. When you are actively taking an interest into those around you, they will remember you for the right reasons. Doing this requires some conversation skills – listening being the most important of all. Asking the right questions to keep someone talking about themselves can reap huge rewards in building a positive relationship; the best way to get them to feel as though they trust and know you is actually when you know them. Possessing the ability to read the room and judge when it’s appropriate to speak about business or job interests will help you use the short pitch you’ve created to your advantage – if your audience isn’t willing to listen, you are wasting your breath on deaf ears. In case they are interested in your business ideas and conversation, make sure you have several business cards and a pen handy.

Summer events are typically centered around enjoying warmer temperatures, casual conversations, and relaxation. Enjoy that and allow others to enjoy it as well and the relationships will happen. And truly, relationships are what networking is all about.

from Jason Hanold
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