Summer Event Tips

Summer is upon us! Other than being excited to spruce up the deck, etc. you should also be excited about the networking opportunities summer get togethers provide. Summer provides you with an opportunity to relax, reconnect, and relish family, good friends, and neighbors. It can also offer an opportunity to make good connections. Here are five general rules about networking in social situations:

1. Talk to anyone; maybe not everyone -- Don't waste all of your time trying to figure out a way to talk to the most popular person at the party. Wasting time strategizing might cause you to miss making a connection to someone else. That person you've never met might be your next best lead! And even if you don't get to talk to everyone, having a few really good conversations may provide better results than meeting everyone in a "bums-rush" way.

2. Be approachable -- Eye contact is key. Watch that fine line between making good eye contact and staring someone down. Open body language and a nice smile can go a long way to making your contact feel comfortable. And everyone wants to be comfortable at a picnic, don't they?

3. Listen attentively -- You're at a social event, so your business agenda should be placed squarely and firmly on the back burner. Listen and make mental notes of the names of family members, other friends you have in common, and hobbies and interests. Making connections socially can benefit you in your business life, but let it happen organically. A summer social event is not the time to dive for your business card, unless you're asked for it, of course.

4. Know when enough is enough -- If you've run out your repertoire with someone and want to move on, know how to excuse yourself gracefully. Offer to get another round of beverages. If they decline, you're free to move on alone. If they accept, strike up another conversation with someone else on your way back to them. Then invite them into your new conversation. It's easier to excuse yourself when you've left someone in another conversation.

5. Follow up is key -- To capitalize on a true connection, be sure your last words are an invitation to meet again. Even if you kept your interaction strictly social (which we highly recommend), gain a verbal commitment to get together again socially. The business talk can expand as your relationship does.

The general rules of networking still apply even in an outdoor setting: Make a friend, and get invited back!



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