We all know BBQs, beach vacations, and pool parties are on everyone’s summer agenda, but what about networking? These get togethers may be the ideal setting for networking because it doesn’t really look like networking. You may think standing by a pool with a burger in your hand isn’t the best time to give out business cards, but you never know who you may meet. Especially if the summer soiree is business related. It also allows for a more relaxed atmosphere without the added pressure of those stuffy, planned networking events.
Effective networking at summer get togethers can get sticky though, kind of like that ice cream cone dripping down your hand right now while you’re reading this, so it takes practice on when and where talking business is appropriate. For the most part, a BBQ or pool party is the last place where anyone wants to talk about work, but it doesn’t mean you should show up unprepared to sell yourself. Start with establishing rapport by briefly talking about yourself and moving on to another topic. Should someone be interested, they will inquire further.
That sun-kissed glow you’re getting might be turning in to more of a lobster red so let’s wrap up with a few do’s and don’ts for your potential summer networking opportunity.
• Bring a few business cards to hand out when appropriate.
• Be prepared to talk about what you are currently doing and what you would like to be doing.
• Determine if the event is a suitable place for networking.
• Ask questions! People love talking about themselves and it’s an effective way for you to get to know them.
• Make the get together all about networking.
• Be pushy with your efforts, most people there are wanting to have fun and cut loose.
• Keep talking about yourself to a disinterested person or group.
• Forget to obtain someone’s contact information so you can follow up on your conversation.