Tis the season… for reflection, reconnection and resolution. For many, the holidays are a time to connect with loved ones, colleagues and friends. It is the perfect time to polish up your networking habits. Here are some tips for ways you can boost your network as we navigate the 2021 holiday season.
Don’t shy away from telling loved ones what you’re up to
Family and friends can be the best place to start when it comes to launching your networking program. These are the people that know you the best – and are more than likely rooting the hardest for you. Make sure to vocalize what you have been up to this year, and more importantly let them know what you are hoping to achieve next year. They may have insight into job opportunities, leads on potential referrals, or helpful advice
Use the season to strengthen your existing network
Who doesn’t love getting a bit of friendly mail during the holidays? Sending a note to your professional contacts can go a long way in helping you refresh and revitalize a network that hasn’t been tapped into for a while. Snail mail is delightful and appreciated, it will show your network you are thinking of them. But if you are crunched for time, or looking to start a dialog, a personalized email or LinkedIn message is free and can sometimes be a more direct line of communication.
Work the room at this year’s holiday party
While many holiday parties will look different this year, finding ways to connect with colleagues you don’t normally talk to daily can really help you stand out and form new relationships. Attending these festive events can help humanize you to colleagues and give you some added visibility throughout the office.
Things to keep in mind during all your holiday networking endeavors:
- Listening is equal (or even superior) to talking – Ask thoughtful questions and take mental notes so you can follow up later. You will learn more, and likely be able to uncover future talking points.
- Mind your manners (and your drinks) – If you are using the holiday season to make some professional moves, try to make sure you are managing your behavior appropriately. You don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons!
- Follow up – Great conversations around a dinner table are well and good, but it is what you do with those conversations that can make all the difference.
- Follow through – If someone asks you to send something over (your resume, an interesting article you discussed, the recipe for that dish you brought to the party, etc..) MAKE SURE YOU SEND IT!
- Consider this the starting point – Sending one email, or mingling at a singular holiday party alone won’t fortify your network for the next year. Think of this time as the jumping off point for maintaining connections and keeping an open dialogue in the new year.
For more helpful tips on networking, check out our tips for effective networking.