How to Network at Your Next Summer Event
Don’t let your networking skills decay. Use social gathering to maintain and enhance your ability to connect with others.
Networking has no off season. Whether it’s holiday parties or summer weddings, social outings offer an opportunity to connect in a lower-stakes setting. Going to a BBQ or your child’s little league game doesn’t necessarily mean exchanging business cards, but it can mean deepening relationships, meeting new people and gaining insight from others in your professional orbit. You can do that while still being friendly and casual.
With better weather and social outings right around the corner, here are tips to network at your next summer event.
Network through volunteering
First, rethink your definition of networking if it’s too narrow. Summer is an opportunity to coach your son or daughter’s team or hand out water at a local 5K. These all provide opportunities to expand your networks, which is why volunteering can be such a valuable benefit. In addition to helping you meet community leaders, volunteering can be an opportunity to experience another work sector, develop new skills and take on a leadership role as a trial within your organization.
Practice your non-verbal pitch
Networking isn’t simply going up to someone and stating your name, title and career interests. Instead, networking is a complex social process that involves your nonverbal delivery, including your eye contact, your handshake and your attitude. In short, it’s the impression you leave on people without even saying a word. You can practice this in your next social outing to become more polished the next time you’re meeting with someone about careers.
Summer is also the perfect time to trade networking for “sweatworking.” Join a cycling group, a running club or just do yoga with friends in the park. There are many benefits of this type of networking: You can skip the dreaded small talk and awkward introductions is that most people like least about networking mixers. When everyone is covered in sweat, you don’t have to try too hard to act professional.
Of course, your primary goal of any social occasion isn’t to hunt down a job or promotion. At the same time, you may have more to gain than simply a good time. So at your next summer event, be fun, be social, but also recognize opportunity.