Holiday Networking are you crazy? It is the holidays and it should be enjoyable! You are probably invited to parties where you can make connections and make next year better for your career. Whether you are happy with your career or need a change, make the most of this holiday season networking opportunities.
Why Holiday Networking Makes Sense?
Recently, my family and I were at Thanksgiving at a friend’s house. I realized very quickly there were people (about 20) there that represented nearly twenty different professions. If I wanted to make a career change, there were enough resources in that home to give me a lot of connections. Some of you may say it is the holidays; you should not ruin it by talking about work! I am not suggesting that you talk about work, but instead make a connection. I wrote an article called “Is Networking Over for Job Seekers?” which chronicles how technology has changed job search and networking.
You know what to do! You are pleasant and make small talk. This is not hard to do during the holidays. There is good food and everyone is generally happy. You get to know the guests you do not know and you can contact them later. There are office parties, industry parties and social parties that are all opportunities to make connections. Either you are meeting new people or renewing old acquaintances, it is an easy way to expand your network. What should you do?
Make connections, but don’t discuss business. Chances are the other guests do not want to discuss business either. Remember, these parties are for the holidays. The drinks are flowing and everyone is relaxed. Get to know the people who you do not know and make the connection. You are trying to accumulate new members of your network to call on them later. The goal is to build new relationships! Make a friend, people hire people they like.
What is Your Goal?
Enjoy yourself, but meet new people. If there are ten (10) people at the party you do not know, make sure you meet them. Do you ask for business cards at holiday parties? I think not, but ask if you can contact them later. This is a great opportunity for your friends or colleagues introduce you to new people. It is a lot better than a regular networking situation. You have the benefit of a mutual friend helping you meet new people. Your goal should be to walk away with many more people who know you and you can call later to help your networking.
The holidays will be over before you know it and parties too. You go to a lot of parties and made connections with a lot of people. What do you do next? You follow-up with everyone you feel you made a connection. It can be a short note of how much you enjoyed the conversation or a phone call. This is when the work starts! You need to carefully use your new connections to network for your career, business or just because you made a new friend. You can use social media, Linkedin, email and just dropping a note in the mail. In these high tech times, little niceties like a hand written note or a phone call is appreciated.
Do you think of networking at holiday parties? I know I don’t! You should not pass out your business cards at your next holiday party, but instead use the opportunity to meet new people. Make friends and connect with as many new people as you can. Remember, employers hire people they like. There are companies that are expanding and you can be a part of it. Networking is not easy, but it should be easier at a holiday party to just get to know a new person and they get to know you. These contacts are better than an average network meeting because you have mutual friends, but it is still up to you to do something with these contacts. Holiday Networking can help you achieve success.
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