Tips for Summer Networking

It is summertime in the northern hemisphere, temperatures are rising and so are your summer networking opportunities!

I sometimes hear BNI members say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know LOTS of chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up while others are down? It starts with a choice to have a positive attitude; deciding that a slowdown is not inevitable. Then it is a matter of adapting to the season by refocusing on referrals during your networking activities.

Look at your calendar. What summertime networking activities are you attending? Some of these may not seem like obvious networking activities, however, successful networkers know to always be prepared.

  • Backyard Barbeque
  • Neighborhood or City-Block Parties
  • Pool Parties
  • Picnics
  • Ball Games or Sporting Events
  • Music Festivals
  • Reunions
  • Other Summertime Fun: Golf, Boating, Traveling, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping, and Gardening

BBQ / Block Party Networking

Whether you are going to a neighborhood block party for a holiday celebration, or a more intimate birthday party for a family member or colleague, barbecues are a great chance to meet friends of your friends and expand your professional network.

Make the most of your own family backyard gathering. Bring a few sample products to the barbecue to give out to family and friends. Who is better to help spread the word about your business? If you are so inclined, ask attendees to bring a new friend with them to the event. More than likely, some family members will show up with uninvited guests anyway. Use these opportunities to get to know people and share what you type of customers you are looking for. Remember, you don’t know who they know!
CAUTION: Don’t give a sales pitch at a neighborhood party or barbecue – not ever. People are there to have fun, relax, and enjoy.

Pool Party / Picnic Networking

Remember that a good networker has TWO ears and ONE mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is saying at your summertime activities. What topics are they mentioning?

Are they complaining about their business? Invite them to visit your BNI chapter.

Are they excited about a wedding? Share information about those members in your chapter that are good referrals for them.

Do they talk about their home being too hot in the summer and it costs too much to cool? Offer to introduce them to the HVAC or solar power member in your chapter.

Do they want to remodel their home or need to move into a new home? It’s referral time! Start by asking how you can help and offer to connect them with professionals that you know.

Ball Game / Sporting Event Networking

A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a local ball game or sporting event and invite fellow BNI members and potential referral partners that you know to attend and then you can introduce them to each other. Whether your team wins or loses, great connections can be made!

Music Festival Networking

The hills are alive with the sound of networking. Music brings people from all different types of professional backgrounds together. Networking through all of the music and dancing at a festival will be a challenge, but it can prove to be invaluable. While each attendee might have a different background, many will have the same overall goal – utilize networking to make meaningful connections and build their businesses. Every personal encounter is a potential opportunity for networking and building a mutually beneficial relationship, so don’t overlook anyone.

Networking at Reunions

Summertime is when there are lots of family reunions and class reunions. These events are typically a gathering of dozens of people who, despite the fact that they took various different professional paths, automatically have a great deal in common and genuinely want to see one another succeed. If you’re looking for a job, a career change, some industry advice, or even if you’re simply hoping to network within your field, attending your reunion could be just the ticket. The question is not whether you should attend your reunion, but how you will network effectively at the reunion.

The Four-hour One-to-One Networking Foursome

If you are a golfer, find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round of golf and you each bring a favorite golf-playing client to introduce to each other as a referral source for the other BNI member. What a great way to solidify a top referral source and score a ‘hole in one” referral yourself with someone else! Again, this is not the time for a sales pitch – it’s about building relationships.

What if you don’t play golf? Think about another summertime activity you like to do that you and a fellow member can invite clients to. Think Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping, or Gardening. Or YOUR personal favorite.

Any place you go with family, friends, or strangers is a networking opportunity!

There are so many opportunities for networking throughout the year – including summertime. You can use these tips in your own community and while traveling on vacation, too.

  • Always have your Business Cards with you. Bring your fellow BNI members’ business cards with you to all your summertime events, too.
  • Remember your fellow members and make a goal for yourself to find at least one referral for a member of your group at each event you attend.
  • Think about the people you have met at these types of events. Who can you invite to your business networking meeting and bring them as a visitor?

Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of networking opportunities and referrals! For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere – revisit these tips in December or adapt them to the activities you’re doing now.

I’d love to hear your stories about networking at events like these. Share them below, thanks!

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