The Easiest Time Of The Year To Network And Connect
The holidays are a prime time for networking. Holiday parties, social gatherings, and business meetings are great opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
Often, people are reluctant to reach out to old friends and colleagues, fearing their outreach will be ignored or rebuffed. However, a simple email with a subject line that says, “it feels like 100 years since we last spoke,” acknowledges the truth of the passage of time and offers a simple way to begin reconnecting.
Your message can read, “It feels like 100 years since we last spoke. You came into my mind, and I thought I would reach out to wish you (a Merry Christmas and) a Happy New Year. So let’s speak after the holidays and set up a time to talk, hopefully in person.” Very simple, isn’t it?
You can also send e-cards to old coworkers and business contacts to ask them about their lives (including wives/husbands/partners and children) to open the door to a later conversation about careers and job opportunities.
In addition, holiday parties tend to leave employees and executives in a good mood and open to remembering you in a good light. However, If the holiday party is not in your cup of tea, send Christmas cards to those you know in your industry. Wait until after the new year to call on old business contacts to ask them about any job openings they may know about or have.
Never push your agenda on influential contacts by sending out networking requests disguised as holiday greetings. Don’t expect quick responses – holiday communication is typically a slow time, so don’t expect immediate results. Instead, give yourself time to reach out to others and let the season flow naturally. Remember, networking during the holidays is a time for re-connection, not heavy-handed pushing for results. Enjoy the holidays as much as you can.
During the holidays, people are generally busy completing professional assignments tied into the calendar year while making room for family, and friends and celebrating the actual holiday. Unfortunately, this is usually not the ideal time to meet prospective mentors or new people to network with unless you have an introduction.
Try to understand how professional patterns change during the holiday season and adapt your networking tactics accordingly. Once you accept rather than resist these patterns, you will be in a better position to use any holiday season to be a networking All-Star and, most importantly, have fun and be happy networking!
Also, remember, many people give notice right before the holidays and then use their vacation time to get through the season. These resignations create vacancies hiring managers may stress out about going into the new year that may provide you with an opportunity to connect with someone who will want to hire an additional person to their staff right after the new year. In addition, they may be more willing to speak with a potential hire informally in anticipation of the new year and their new budget.
Many fiscal year companies completed their budget cycle a month before and want to bring on additional people. Using the holiday season to make yourself “top of mind” opportunities without being aggressive can help you become situated quickly in the new year.
Don’t neglect your family and friends in your conversations and networking. Many people I know have landed new jobs based upon discussions around a Christmas tree or a glass of New Year’s Eve champagne. Everyone was friendly, and then, a week later, they received a call asking if they might be interested in role doing… Also, casually mentioning to family members and friends that you are looking for a- new job is an excellent way to network in an unobtrusive way you never know who you might be introduced to!
For those in sales, the holidays are often the easiest time to get together with senior managers you have done business with and listen to them talk about their plans for the new year.
Whether it’s holiday parties or company-sponsored events, take advantage of the holiday season to expand your network of connections. There are usually several social events during the holidays that you could attend, and the networking you do at these events may result in a new client.
In addition to office-sponsored holiday parties, you can attend alumni gatherings to meet people from your target companies. Aside from the formal social events, you can also attend non-traditional networking settings such as fundraisers and charity events. If you participate in such events, it’s essential to be prepared for the unexpected. For example, at one fundraiser, my wife and I were seated next to the personal attorney of a former US president. You never know who you might meet and what might come from the meeting.
Connecting and networking is a life-long activity. However, making it casual and fun is even easier during the holidays. Always be more interested in the other person than in selling yourself or promoting your agenda. There is no sound sweeter to a person than the sound of their own voice. The more they talk, the more attentively you listen, the more engaged they believe you are, the more they like you.
Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
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