Networking Your Way through the Holidays
|Created On: 21 December, 2016||Created By: Amber Travis-Ballinas, Career Coach at Career Creators|
Networking is the process of building mutually beneficial relationships, which support both your personal and professional goals. It is a continuous, systematic, goal-oriented approach of reaching out to others, developing a broad list of contacts, and utilizing these relationships when you need assistance.
Meeting people and developing relationships is one of the first steps in the networking process. Holiday parties, events, and gatherings are excellent opportunities to strengthen existing relationships and to make new connections.
Follow these simple guidelines for holiday networking success:
Be ready. You should ALWAYS be networking because 80% of employment and business opportunities are earned through the process of networking. Maximize each holiday gathering by being prepared to network.
· Introduce yourself by stating your full name, smiling, making direct eye contact, and offering a firm handshake.
· Have a brief; simple statement prepared that describes whom you are and what you do.
· Prepare a few interesting open-ended questions that are appropriate to instigate a conversation. Avoid asking, “What do you do (for a living)?”
· Keep business cards hidden but easily accessible, so you can quickly pass a card to a new contact without fumbling or having to put down your drink or plate.
· Do not drink too much alcohol! Preferably, do not drink alcohol at all. If you do, hold yourself to a 2-drink limit.
· Do not flirt with your boss or coworkers!
· Avoid having discussions about anything controversial like politics, religion, or sex.
· Keep your personal opinions vague and somewhat neutral.
· Do not debate or argue!
Listen more than you speak. Spend more time listening than speaking. People like to talk about themselves.
· Ask a few questions and really listen to gather as much information as possible.
· Find commonalities to develop rapport. This leads to follow-up questions, more conversation, and ultimately forms a deeper connection with the contact.
· Do keep any discussion of business brief and avoid being a pest. It is a party, after all.
Take advantage of holiday gatherings and events to strengthen your existing relationships and develop relationships with as many new contacts as possible. Follow these simple guidelines during holiday parties, gatherings, & events to strengthen and expand your network. You may meet new clients or learn about new business and employment opportunities—all while having fun and enjoying the holidays.