networkingI love it. We’re on the brink of summer.

For most of us, getting here has involved a big push of content–meetings, events, announcements, web pages–all before we end the second quarter. Yet, it was well worth it. Because this is just the time of year when business communications pros can ease back the throttle and enjoy the calm that comes after hectic activity.

Whoa there! Not too calm, I hope. Remember, summer is a great time to continue networking.

Networking is so important, no matter where you are in your career. I mean it! Intern? You want to network to better understand the working world, test new ideas of yourself and your career, and establish a foundation of professional connections. Mid-career? You want to navigate to your next great adventure, and grow your strengths and capabilities. Thinking about retirement? You want to link up with enriching connections who will support you as you reinvent yourself in a new context.

But the thing is…it’s summer! And with summer distractions–the kids, the dog, the beach, the softball game–and hours, it’s challenging to schedule a lunch, after-work drink, or attend an event. It’s takes planning and effort.

You got that right. It does take planning and effort. So, roll up your sleeves and schedule your next networking activity. It doesn’t have to be hard. Got a project you’re working on? Grab coffee with one of your teammates. Visiting the cafeteria? Join the table of someone you don’t know very well and learn about the work that they do.

Networking for your continuing professional growth has got to be systematic, if it’s going to be effective. This means you need to keep it up even during the summer.