June’s warmer weather, the increase in the amount of people who have been vaccinated, and ridiculously high levels of pandemic-fatigue, are causing people to start socializing again. After more than a year of quarantining, we humans are itching for social contact. Social contact is critical for more than just our mental health; it is important for our business health, too. The more people we have in our network, the more opportunities arise for us to find new jobs, solve problems, serve clients, or achieve goals.
Since we are all “Zoomed out” by this point, here are some creative, COVID-safe ways to network with others and reconnect in three dimensions:
- Picnic outside: Meet at a picnic table in a park. If you sit at one end of the table and your counterpart sits on the far, opposite side, you are six feet apart. You do not need to do a full picnic; even drinking coffee or tea will work. You can be socially distant and close enough to talk.
- Go for a walk: Multi-task by getting in your 10,000 steps while chatting with someone. Not only do you both get the benefits of talking, but you give the gift of time by not making your counterpart choose between exercising or networking. Just remember to walk on a wide path, or put one of you on the grass side of the sidewalk and the other on the street just past the curb. Alternate positions every so often so the same person is not always on the road.
- Play a game: Golf has always been the game of business. More deals are made on the golf course than in the board room, so the saying goes. But golf is not the only option that works. Try badminton, croquet, bocce ball, horseshoes, or corn-hole for fun, low-sweat, easy alternatives that still allow for chatting and social distancing.
- Hold outdoor discussions: Organize panel discussions in parks. Most cities and towns have some small parks that are not so well-known. Organize the event there so it is not too crowded. Set three chairs six feet apart in the “stage” area. Have others stand to listen to the panelists or set chairs six feet apart for the audience.
Remember that the goal of networking is not to get a job of get someone to do something for you. The goal is to build new friendships that are mutually helpful. Anything that gets you beyond small talk and helps you to learn about each other’s character and competencies deepens the relationship and strengthens your connection. These types of activities are natural breeding grounds for finding commonalities between you.
Comprehensive Learning Solutions is a certified Contacts Count® networking training organization. Contact Comprehensive Learning Solutions if you want to train your staff on how to upgrade their networking skills.