By Annie Favreau
Networking in the summertime can get a bad rap. With many people out of the office, the slower pace of business, and fewer professional development events on the calendar, it’s easy to skip out on networking efforts altogether. But don’t be tempted. The sunny season can be an ideal time to build up your contacts. Why? The long days of summer often equal more free time. Plus, sun-induced relaxation can put you in the perfect frame of mind to focus on what low-stress networking is truly about: making friendly and genuine connections.
Here are four easy tips to get the most out of your summertime networking.
1) Get Outdoors
There’s no rulebook that says networking has to take place indoors or at a formal business event. Developing contacts can be as simple as striking up a conversation with your tennis partner or meeting someone new at the neighborhood barbeque. Many of the best work connections are forged outside the office.
2) Be Prepared
Compiling lists of people to contact, reading up about a company’s culture, or planning in-depth interview questions are year-round activities. As such, summer’s a perfect moment to catch up on any research or preparation you’ve been putting off. That way, when you meet an important connection, you’ll have already done the legwork to make a great impression.
3) Take Care of Your Current Network
Just because you’re linking up with new people, don’t forget to take care of the friends, contacts, or co-workers you already have. You don’t want to get labeled as a “connect and dash” networker! So nurture your relationships by socializing, sharing useful information, and helping connect other people. By taking part in an active community, you can boost your reputation as a relevant, informed, and valuable contact.
4) Donate Your Time
Joining a committee or volunteering for an organization you love is a great way to branch out of your normal social setting and gain new experience. By coming together with people who share your interests, it will be easier to make genuine connections.
What’s your favorite way to network in the summer?
Annie Favreau works for InsideJobs.com, a site designed to help you discover the right career choices and build a strong, successful future.