Making the most of summer networking opportunities

Posted on: June 18, 2024

The summer offers a bountiful supply of networking event opportunities. With (hopefully) glorious weather and longer days, people are keen to make the most of this chance to forge new contacts. It’s an excellent season to make meaningful connections and strengthen your network with valued contacts.


Many people who turn to us for coaching and confidence-building techniques, say they’re nervous about networking. In this article, we share 3 essentials to help you: a) make a good impression, b) create valuable contacts, and c) ensure the time you invest in the event is worthwhile.

Show genuine interest in those you meet

Showing interest in what people say and being curious about their work and interests is a surefire way to impress. Be welcoming and confident when you introduce yourself – and avoid going into a big sell or being too self-deprecating. Remember, those first impressions count and should be positive. Start with a non-business conversation to warm things up.

Always try to ask about the other person’s business or work first before going into detail about your own. You can then tweak how you describe your expertise or work to really interest them.

Ensure you look interested in and listen to what they have to say. Don’t hog the conversation. Also avoid looking around the room to assess who else you want to speak to next, as this will only convey you’re uninterested in this specific person.

Some networking events can be noisy, but if people feel you are listening to them, they’ll trust you more and tell you more. Make sure you ask relevant and open questions to find out about them.

A common mistake is focusing purely on people you think you could do business with directly. Experienced networkers will tell you that often talking to someone who has similar clients to you (but offers a different expertise) can prove a valuable referrer. Also, think broadly about those you could collaborate with.

Remember, the goal is to build rapport and learn about the contact – not to come away with an order for a specific service. If you focus on building trust and reassurance first, new work opportunities will flow in over time.

Find a way to keep in touch

For this first meeting to blossom into a positive professional relationship, you will need further contact points with this person. From what you’ve both discussed, think about a way to keep in touch – for example, sending them a relevant article, arranging a coffee to learn more about their work/ organisation/ project, getting back to them with an answer to a specific question/issue they’ve raised.

Be bold and ask for the person’s contact details. If they have a business card, take a moment to look at it and show your interest. If they don’t, suggest connecting on LinkedIn via the app’s QR code generator.

Do make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn anyway after the event. It will help you begin or continue a conversation with them and engage with their content. This can be a great way to build rapport with your new connection.

Finding a way to keep in touch makes the following point much easier.

Impress them with your follow-up

How many times have you been to a networking event, and someone said they would reach out to you but didn’t? Successful networkers know it’s not just about what happens in the room but how these initial introductions and conversations progress.

Keep your promise and deliver within the timeframe you specified. Consider the best approach to transform this fleeting encounter into an enduring professional relationship. For example, by

  • Crafting personalised follow-up emails/messages that leave a lasting impression
  • Leveraging social media platforms to maintain connections
  • Setting up face-to-face or online meetings
  • Calling them

Whatever you choose, make sure your follow-up is beneficial to your contact. They should view it as relevant and worthwhile if you want to strengthen your professional relationship with them.


This summer’s networking events can help you strengthen your network and generate new business opportunities. Look at them as a chance to meet interesting people, nurture potential leads, and explore possible opportunities for collaboration.

At the same time, recognise that this is only step 1 in becoming a valued professional contact to those you meet. Use your time with them at the event to set up the next point of contact. If you do, the time you’ve invested today will be worthwhile tomorrow.

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