people connecting on a beach, creating a casual network

How To Casually Network To Increase Your Business Opportunities

The summer holidays are fast approaching and, understandably, most people take this time to take a break from their businesses. While it’s incredibly important to take some time off after a busy year, your holiday time is the perfect opportunity to continue building your networks. You’re connecting with new, and old, friends and family, who all have the potential to become clients!

But… How do you effectively network with friends, family, and new people without being “that guy” at the party? You know the one, always talking about how well his business is going, how much money he’s making, and trying to get you to buy his product or sign up to his services so he can make more.

Casual networking is an art-form that requires patience and confidence. You don’t want to be too pushy, but you also want people to take you seriously.

Firstly, it’s important to go into each conversation with no expectations. The only expectations you need to have over the break are relaxing, having fun, and spending time with your friends and family. Most people are in the same boat; they’re on holiday and just want to relax and have a good time. So, it’s important to not overstep those boundaries. If you go into casual networking conversations with no expectations about getting new clients, you’ll find people are more open to actually talking. And the conversation will become even easier, as it turns to a more exploratory, educational, and sociable vein.

Approach casual networking opportunities in a friendly manner, much like you would any other networking opportunity. If you’re sitting next to someone at a picnic, standing behind someone for ice cream, or just out shopping the sales, say hi and start up a conversation. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the conversation turns to work. People often connect over work, because that’s what they spend most of their waking hours doing. It’s an easy conversation to have, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to connect with new people.

Get curious during these conversations. Remember, it’s not all about you! Getting to know people starts when you engage with them and ask questions. Where do they live – are they locals or on holiday? What do they do for work? How did they get into that industry? What’s their favourite part of the job? Having these conversations opens a dialogue to find out if they can use your services, you could use their services, or you could work together with clients. The conversation needs to be two-way, otherwise it’s just another business pitch. And no one wants to hear those when they’re trying to relax and soak in the sun!

Having said all that, if you’re looking to network over the holidays, you can’t forget this one essential thing! BUSINESS CARDS! As a business person, having your business card on you is second nature. However, when you’re going on holiday, you might be tempted to leave the cards in the desk drawer. Whatever you do, resist this urge: you never know who might be interested or where you might meet them. So you should make sure you have some on or near you at all times. Keep a couple in your wallet, stash a handful in your glovebox, or pop a few in your luggage (also helpful for if you loose your luggage).

So there you have it! Now go and enjoy your summer holidays. And remember, don’t be “that guy” at the Christmas BBQ.

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