The holiday season is coming up fast, with Thanksgiving right around the corner. We’re preparing to get together with friends and family we’ve not seen for a while, perhaps even a year! The holidays provide a great opportunity to network with family and professionals in the field. Follow these great tips for a happy holiday networking experience!
Why are the holidays a great time to network?
• People are in the holiday spirit
• You get to mingle with more people and often some who are not in your regular circle of friends
• Budgets are generally approved in December, so making connections during the holidays puts you in prime position to do some serious follow-up networking in January
• A lot of your competition takes a break during the holidays assuming that no one is around to talk to them, which means your contacts have more time to talk to you.
• AND did we mention that people are in the holiday spirit!
Some things to remember about networking during the holidays…
• Informal networking happens as soon as you begin a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a while or a new connection
• Networking during the holidays is mingling, making chit-chat, a much more informal experience than a network meeting in someone’s office
• Keep the conversation light and casual – ask how he or she knows the host or what they’re doing for the holidays
• Don’t start with, “so what do you do?” rather, work that question into the conversation after you’ve established some rapport
• If you meet someone you want to officially network with, ask if they’d be willing to meet with you in the next week or two to give you some guidance and advice, get a card or contact information and go back to being social
• Be open to being surprised. You never know who you’ll meet at one of these gatherings
A holiday MUST – the holiday card!
This is a once a year opportunity to connect with colleagues, friends, former employers and professors. Send a holiday card to everyone you know and do it the old fashioned way – write a short note, sign your name, put the card in an envelope, attach a stamp and put it in the mail. It’s a great way to be remembered and let someone know you’re thinking of him or her.
Have a wonderful holiday by making some new and unexpected connections!
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 22nd print edition.