The Holidays are here and that means more opportunities to socialize with everyone you know. These tips will help you make the most of your networking time.
- Regardless of the time of year, follow the golden rule of networking: always demonstrate a sincere interest in others by asking questions to build rapport. The goal is to make a positive impression and lay the groundwork for future opportunities, not to see who can distribute the most business cards.
- Broaden your horizons. Don’t fall into the trap of attending a holiday gathering and only talking to those you already know. At the office holiday lunch, make it a point to sit next to someone you’d like to work with more closely instead of sitting next to the colleagues you work with every day. Or, make it a point to talk to the spouse or friend of your colleague to help them feel welcome at a company event.
- Drink responsibly. Know your drink limit and stick to it. It is not easy to recover after you spill red wine on your client’s new holiday attire. And if you do, make sure to pick up the dry cleaning bill!
- Keep your conversations professional and respectful. Topics should be positive, and you should shy away from controversial political or religious issues. If words fail you, thank someone for the help or support they gave you during the past year.
- Reach out and reconnect. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with old friends, colleagues, clients, vendors, former employers, neighbors, and anyone else who has been on your mind. Sending a handwritten note or even a brief but sincere email to wish them well and establish continued interest can help build positive relationships in the future.
Keep these tips in mind, and enjoy your holiday season!