Summer is almost here! And with many weddings and graduations at the forefront, networking can easily fall to the wayside on the PR gal’s to-do list.

But don’t let it! Do something different and try a new way of networking. Instead of mingling in a dark crowded bar or hotel conference room, try hosting a weekend brunch. I know many of you are wishing you could reach through the screen and slap me saying, “Why would you pick my favorite meal and pair it with networking?!”

Hear me out. This can be fun. Really!

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I know weekends are typically reserved for lounging in pjs, Netflix binging, and online shopping… but, brunch! It’s an untapped resource.

People are less stressed, at ease, and more comfortable on the weekends. All of these are definite positives in a networking situation.

(And, who doesn’t love brunch – especially if mimosas are involved!)

When you have a spare moment (ha!) search through your contacts and put together a list of people you would love to catch up with or get to know a little better. Make sure they each have something in common and have relevant advice or insight to bring to the entire table (no pun intended… really). You don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

Put some thought into your guest list and make sure everyone who attends will benefit and find value. And keep the number of guests small – I’d say around 10 is a good sized brunch group. This will allow everyone to make more personal connections and not have anyone feeling left out.

Typical networking events feel like a race to the finish line – count your business cards, see who got the most or the coveted card from the main guest speaker, then head home. (Please don’t do this – at any type of networking event! Really listen and get to know your new connects and find out what value you can both bring to each other.)

But with a networking brunch, no one is racing back to work or just shoving their business card at you. The relaxed atmosphere allows for conversation to happen organically and chances are, after this event you’ll know more than what company they work for and if they are hiring or what they are selling.

Networking events make some people break out in a cold sweat but take that pressure off by hosting a fantastic brunch. You’ll have a chance to make a lasting impression and who knows, you could even land a job.

So pick out your cutest weekend outfit, call up those connects, and break out the bubbly… It’s time to get your networking on!

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