For most of us, summer has a little slower pace, both professionally and personally. That's not to say that there isn't work to be done and vacations to take, but we do tend to have a little more down time. Often people leave the office a little earlier and take long lunches and longer weekends. I think that summer is a golden opportunity to ratchet up your networking.
Since many of us have summer calendars that are a bit less packed, it's a great time to reach out to people you've been trying to get together with and grab a cup of coffee, lunch or a glass of wine. You may have much better luck connecting with colleagues in June, July and August than in other months. So here's a snapshot of how to create a killer summer networking plan:
1) Go through your Rolodex or contact database and identify 8-10 people you'd like to reconnect with.
2) Block out time on your calendar (I recommend at least one slot a week) so your schedule doesn't fill up and preclude a networking meeting.
3) Brainstorm some fun, creative ways to get together with people (beyond a Starbucks meeting or happy hour). Perhaps get a group of people together for dinner at a hot new restaurant or invite a colleague who is an art enthusiast to a new gallery exhibit.
4) Go through your local newspaper or business journal and websites and identify 4 or 5 events you'd like to attend over the summer. This will ensure you will meet new people, too.
Follow these simple steps and you'll ensure that you take advantage of networking opportunities over the lazy days of summer!
Marny Lifshen, Author "Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women"