It’s that time of year again. For most, the holidays are a combination of joy mixed with chaos. While networking may be the last thing on your list this holiday season, don’t overlook the opportunities that lie ahead in the next 6 weeks to strengthen your connections.
And no, I don’t mean turn your holiday parties into business meetings. But, DO be mindful of re-connecting with old friends and colleagues with whom you may have lost touch, and making some new friends along the way.
Here are some ways to make the most of the networking (aka, holiday) season:
– Make it a point to attend that party of former colleagues or alumni. Even if you can only pop in for one drink, spending 45 minutes re-connecting with old friends or acquaintances can be just the rekindling needed to re-establish them as a warm contact. Send a quick follow-up note on Linked In if you have time.
– Don’t know anyone? These can be BEST parties to attend. You never know who you’ll meet and this can be a great way to open up a whole new circle in your network. And, chances are, you’re not the only one attending who doesn’t know anyone.
– Send holiday cards. Don’t overlook this incredible opportunity to create a positive touch point with clients, vendors and associates. A simple card can go a long way, and technology makes it easy to send mass greetings if that’s more your style. No time in December? No problem – send New Year’s wishes the first week of January.
– Volunteer. The holidays inspire a sense of giving and there are endless ways to get involved in your community. Put together meals for the homeless, participate in a charity ball, or find another group activity that speaks to you. You’ll meet like-minded people who also find joy in helping others.
Networking is not about handing out business cards, selling yourself, or asking for things. It is about CONNECTING and finding mutually beneficial ways to help one another to be successful.
Holidays are the perfect time to do this. There is no agenda other than celebrating the season by spreading joy to others. In fact, it is probably one of the most comfortable and simple times to cultivate your network.
In the words of Woody Allen, “80% of success is just showing up.”