It’s that time of year again.
The yard games are set up, you’re prepared to eat hot dogs and hamburgers for at least three days straight, and all your friends and family have gathered together. While you’re here to have fun and enjoy everyone’s company, it’s also the perfect time to casually engage in sports networking.
But you don’t want to be that person.
We all know turning a backyard barbeque into a major networking event won’t make you the most popular person at the party.
So, here’s how you can subtly network at your summer holiday parties:
Look for Connections
Even though this isn’t a dedicated sports networking event, it’s important to follow through with your typical first step: research. Knowing who will be at the party, what they do, and their connections is crucial to being subtle once guests start showing up.
For example, if your uncle knows someone who works with a local minor league baseball team, note that you want to connect with them. Then plan some talking points to discuss with your uncle. What players are standing out on the team? What are the team’s stats this year?
This will get your uncle involved in natural conversations about the team, allowing you to bring up his connection casually.
With our busy work and home lives, it’s often difficult to fit networking into our schedules. In fact, according to a 2015 survey by the University of Phoenix School of Business, 27 percent of working adults and job seekers who say they don’t network hesitate to because the opportunities aren’t there.
What’s more, 16 percent say they can’t coordinate networking into their schedule and 16 percent say it takes too much time.
Unfortunately, these myths often hold people back from networking. But time is of the essence when it comes to sports networking and landing your dream job. That’s why it’s a great idea to double parties as networking opportunities.
However, it’s important to match the informal vibe. Work people’s jobs and connections into conversations in a casual, non-pushy manner. Make them feel that you’re truly interested in them as a person, not just as a ticket to your next sports job. Also ask questions outside of the job to make them feel you’re sincere.
Have Fun and Show Your Value
Having fun and being yourself is crucial in any sports networking situation — even more so when you’re at a party. To show off your communication skills, tell fun stories or listen intently to other people’s stories and ask questions.
If you want to work in broadcasting, talk about a recently released broadcast or a specific broadcaster you respect. Get other people involved and interested in the conversation to keep it light and fun.
To take it a step further, demonstrate your organizational skills by organizing a friendly competition between party-goers, such as a cornhole tournament. This involves designating teams, scheduling matches, tracking scores, and managing time. Not only is this a fun way to interact with others, but also it’s a great opportunity to show your value.
No matter how you choose to show off your talent, be sure to get others involved and just be yourself. Allowing your natural personality to shine at any sports networking event will catch the attention of quality connections.