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So its summertime once again and why shouldn’t the living, and the networking, be easy? That promotion is just around the corner; or maybe you have a holiday booked to go somewhere you have never been before. Or perhaps you may want to get those deck chairs out, make some icy, fresh, lemonade; kick back, relax, and then wonder… “Didn’t I do this last year?” (Cited from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/10/16/the-best-time-to-start-a-new-job-search/#5a4ccd6f4789)
As we roll into the lazy days of summer, it may be wise to consider doing some networking. Summer can be the ideal time to network, which is an essential part of finding out what opportunities are out there. After all, about 85% of all jobs are found and filled via networking. One reason to approach networking in the summertime, is that most key people in companies are comparatively easier to speak to at that time rather than during busier periods of the year. As the author for Networking for Nerds, Alaina Levine says “The hottest time of the year offers some of the hottest opportunities to network”. (http://www.hrvoice.org/summertime-networking-10-tips-to-make-hot-connections-this-summer/)
In fact, summer is perhaps one of the times least used to network, yet at the same time has shown to be the most productive time to network. People tend to be in a brighter mood compared to during the gloomy winters-especially where I am from in England! Networking needs to be fun and not approached as another chore, like mowing the lawn. (http://francis-moran.com/marketing-strategy/social-media-strategy-why-meeting-in-the-real-world-matters/)
Social Media versus Meeting Someone in Person
One thought that may have crossed your mind could be ‘surely using social media is an effective tool, if so… why spend money on a summer vacation to network when I can do it from home?’ The answer is, despite social media’s powerful presence and ever-growing popularity, there is no substitute for meeting people ‘face to face’.
As Alexandra Reid, Community Manager for Francis Moran & Associates says, how your office desk is organized; or disorganized; how you dress and your personal hygiene tells the other person a lot about you. Reid highlights research from UCLA to support her point. Their research “indicated that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined through nonverbal cues.” (http://francis-moran.com/marketing-strategy/social-media-strategy-why-meeting-in-the-real-world-matters/)
Other research (cited in the same article sourced by Reid) said that the effectiveness of a performance was determined 7% by words used, 38% by voice quality, and 55% percent by nonverbal communication”. (https://www.thebalance.com/tips-for-understanding-nonverbal-communication-1918459)
So maybe it’s time to reconsider staying at home and muster up the courage to meet someone in person. Why not try networking this summer holiday? It may mean making the extra effort, but this extra work may be very fruitful.
What Networking Tools should I Pack in My suitcase before going on Holiday?
Stop right there! Before you book anything, have you looked on your contact list? Many people have contacts they didn’t realize they had, even living in foreign countries. Katharina Cavano, writing for Business 2 Community, recommends “taking a look at your contact list and filter or search by current location to see if there’s anyone living in where you’ll be vacationing”. If you are interested in re-contacting them, send them a note on Facebook or tweet them. How about asking them for recommendations for places of interest to visit or to see?
One other thing is to employ the tools you have at your disposal. These are personal attributes that everybody has. Some people are great at building relationships. Some may be more curious, and others may possess a spirit of adventure. All these personal traits are useful when attempting to broaden your network.
Why not try these tools out? You may find that people in the airport lounge, hotel lobby or casually sitting on the beach tend to be more relaxed and easier to talk to. This is where you have to muster up the courage and go talk to them. Go on, you can do it!
Cathy Paper, writing for the Business Journals, suggests among her three tips to be adventurous. If you have always wanted to try out skydiving, snorkeling, renting a bike out or going on a guided tour, take this opportunity. Doing something new like snorkeling; going on a historical walking tour are great ways of experiencing something new and having a lot to talk about in between. (http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/marketing/2015/08/3-strategies-for-networking-while-on-vacation.html)
If you are travelling alone, it may be a good idea to find event pages or local associations that cater to your professional or personal area of interest. Nobody said that networking couldn’t be fun! If you like music, one idea would be to find out about local concerts that suit your tastes. You may enjoy a classical concert or visiting a jazz bar. Sharing a common interest with someone else is an easy way to ‘break the ice’. An added plus is that you may not need to ‘splash the cash’ as many events are free. Depending upon what your interests are, as long as there are people around there are plenty of opportunities. (http://www.business2community.com/strategy/network-youre-vacation-01851431#L3G5W7TP4Ypjhlzd.97)
Summer is usually the time for relaxing, but surely time was meant to be used productively. Today, one of the ways where we can enrich our personal and working lives is networking. As human beings we are naturally social animals so what better time to choose to network than when going on vacation? Meeting people in person has a distinct advantage; namely the fact we are able assess whether a particular person will enrich our network or not. The other essential thing to make networking work in our favor is to be open to new experiences. By employing this broadmindedness, we increase the opportunities of meeting new and interesting people.