Amp up your yearbook program with summer networking strategies


Many people think summer isn’t a good time for networking. They assume because people tend to go on vacations, attend more personal than school-related activities and focus on family and friends, it’s not a good time to make and maintain professional relationships. But just because people are more relaxed doesn’t mean they don’t want to meet up and exchange ideas.

You can take time to make quality, highly personal connections during the summer that will help you (and your yearbook program) for years to come.

Here are some tips to make the most of summer networking time.

Sit down with last year’s adviser.
If you are new to the yearbook, schedule time to meet with the former adviser. First, determine if there are any unique problems concerning your book. Second, discuss community and administrative support for the program. Finally, inquire about staff selection and summer preparation. (If you were the adviser last year, this is a good time to review these same points to enhance next year’s program.)

Meet with your Balfour rep.
This is a good time to talk with your representative and clarify your expectations. You should air any concerns you might have about the book you are about to advise. Have a list of questions prepared for your representative.

In this discussion, you should do the following:
1. Review the contract.
2. Establish deadlines.
3. Inquire about Balfour’s procedures and policies.
4. Discuss your projected yearbook budget.
5. Ask about new programs or materials. Representatives attend summer meetings to inform them of changes and/or developments.
6. Inventory the supplies in the Planning Kit (April) and Production Kit (August) and ask your representative to explain any materials unfamiliar to you.
7. Exchange school, office, FAX, cell and home phone numbers as well as e-mail addresses. Also, jot down convenient times to call.

Meet with your principal.
Express your perspective, goals and expectations. Allow him or her to do the same. Try to get a feel for how involved the principal wants to be with the yearbook. Above all, make sure you have the support you need to meet your mutual goals.

Topics of discussion may include:
1. Yearbook budget and finances.
2. Policies for allowing staff members and photographers out of class or off school grounds.
3. Selection of portrait photographers and dates for picture taking.
4. Yearbook merchandising. Decide when, where and how.
5. Seminars, conventions, workshops, or field trips.
6. School’s master calendar.
7. His/her philosophy regarding prior review.

Whatever you decide to do, schedule your meetings early on and keep those dates sacred. Don’t choose to try to do too much, but commit to following-through with the meetings that will bring you the most value.