Posted on: September 15th, 2017 by Jen Mueller

Pumpkin spice is all the rage right now. Personally, I don’t quite get the obsession. I do know that it signals a change in the seasons.

It’s not just fall.

It’s football season.

More than watching games on Saturday or Sunday (or Monday, Thursday and Friday, which is getting a little ridiculous.) you should be using the start of football season to ramp up your networking efforts. Before you raise any objections, you don’t have to be a hard-core, watch-every-game-there-is type of a fan.

Football season should help kick your networking efforts into gear. Here’s why:

1. Summer is over. Making connections during the summer months can be hit-or-miss with vacations and family obligations. Schedules get more predictable when the kids are back in school and you’re back in a regular routine.

2. Finish 2017 strong. If you want a strong Q4 finish, you need to set the wheels in motion now. People tend to hunker down in November when they start noticing the holidays are right around the corner. Get some meetings on the books and use the next couple months to re-establish business connections.

3. Football is king. Yearly surveys show that football is the most popular sport in the United States. Football dominates the sports headlines this time of year and generates a lot of discussion. Use that to your advantage. Networking can happen while standing in line waiting for coffee and talking about the upcoming Seahawks season. Be prepared to join one of the many football conversations taking place around you, even if you’re not a diehard fan. Remember sports isn’t always about sports. Sports talk can be a conduit to bigger conversations, like the ones that build relationships and lead to business interactions.

So the next time you order a pumpkin spice latte or see football highlights, use it as a reminder to get a few networking opportunities on your schedule.

Speaking schedules, I’ve got October 4th marked on my calendar. That’s the date my new book The Influential Conversationalist launches. Conversations don’t have to be hard. Face-to-face interactions aren’t something you should avoid because your career opportunities depend on it. The book is filled with conversation strategies I use in my job as an NFL sideline reporter and includes perspective from a few of the NFL players I work with. Get a sneak peak and download a special preview chapter of the book through my website.

Jen Mueller is the radio sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks, and a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT SPORTS. She founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and advocates using sports conversations as a business tool. Hire Jen to speak to your group for a unique take on business communication: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com.