Let’s face it, August is the least productive month for networking. October comes close thanks to the Jewish holidays, but since that month also kicks off the charity gala season, there are some opportunities. But August, unless you look at it properly, is a black hole of networking.
While everyone is eking out the last of family vacations, taking their kids away to college and finishing their summer yard projects, there aren’t many people around to network with—not that the social calendar is particularly rich this month either.
Like many, I used to spend this month swimming upstream—deliberately trying twice as hard to make all the rounds. What I thought, wrongly, was that since this is a month that there are fewer people around, I would have greater “market share” and therefore be more effective. Bully! What I found was that nothing could be further from the truth.
Successful networking is a sport
The only poor souls clutching around the usual networking venues are those who don’t have enough going on in their lives. Worse, it’s the desperate few who don’t (or won’t) take the last of their summer vacation days that are trying to sop up what they can while the competition is soft. Not only does this make for a weak pool of contacts to mine, but admit it, birds of a feather…
What I found is more effective is to use the month to catch up with those contacts who I either haven’t fully realized or those who I might owe a thank you. Right about now, everyone is looking for an excused day of hooky—mentally, they’re on vacation anyway. So this is when you can take them out for golf, an extended lunch, early drinks/dinner, concert, whatever. In between, use the free time to evaluate what events have been successful for you in the past (so you can repeat those this year), what you missed that you should not, who has been your residual contact (do something extra for him), who is the fish that got away and most importantly, who or how you were led astray.
Remember: Successful networking is a sport. If you don’t take a break every once in a while, you’ll get muscle fatigue.