We are well into summer now, and here’s what we know:

  • People are on vacation
  • The kids are home for the summer break, and
  • Business is usually slower

However, our businesses are still there to work and build, and that usually means that we are looking for opportunities to stay in touch within the relaxed environment the summer season seems to bring on.

Now is not the time for formal networking

The last thing people want to do during the lazy, hazy days of the season is to stand up and give a 30-second infomercial. Formal networking events can seem like a bit of a chore when a beach trip with your friends and family are calling.

Instead, why not host a summer backyard gathering? This can be very informal and casual, but a great opportunity for you to relationship build and connect a contact or two you think should meet with one another.

How to host a backyard gathering with connecting in mind

Not only does not need to be a formal affair, but it also doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Just follow these four steps:

  1. When sending out invitations, make it a small, intimate invitation-only event. I would recommend somewhere between six and ten people in total. This may mean only one or two contacts and their families. Or it could be three or four contacts and their significant others. How it breaks down will depend on who you’re contacts are and who you invite.
  2. Set the mood and manage expectations by stating its a backyard event outright. Use a fun, creative name for the event that you know will draw in your contacts. The Poolside Mixer or Backyard Mastermind sound fun don’t they? 
  3. Consider taking it one step further by having a topic for the group to mastermind on. Not necessarily a business-specific topic, but something that will lead to fruitful discussion and be easy to brainstorm on. For example, you could have a great discussion with the topic ’How to build your business in the summer.’ Everyone would share what they are doing that’s working, what they’re challenges are and get some new ideas from the other people in attendance.
  4. If you have a topic, be sure to have an agenda in mind so the day flows nicely. The agenda should allow time for discussion, but not be so rigid that it doesn’t leave some time for fun and small talk
  5. Serve food and drinks to match your theme and the atmosphere you wish to convey, such as fruity drinks, tropical fruit platter, veggies on a skewer and mini sandwiches. For some great recipe ideas, check out my website.

Remember, people may not be in the formal business mindset over the summer, so offer them an opportunity outside of that mindset by drawing on the dinner party concepts of old with your own fun twist. The most important thing is to have fun with it!