Why is holiday time the best time for networking?
Holiday time is a great time for networking, so put some jingle in your mingle whether you are self-employed, unemployed, or employed.
Networking is important during the holidays and a perfect time to touch base with folks either in person or online, whether you reach out to meet someone new or build deeper relationships with people in your network.
Reignite your connections and update them on how things are going in your home and work lives. Share your goals for the new year and ask them to share theirs.
It’s an excellent time for you to offer to make warm introductions, especially on LinkedIn. People are more relaxed and usually have a better frame of mind. (There are always exceptions, like Debbie Downer and Negative Ned, of course.)
😊 DECK THE HALLS AS A SELF-EMPLOYED ENTREPRENEUR AND CELEBRATE UJAMAA AND KUUMBA
Do not touch base with others for transactional purposes. Keep it light and friendly, and wish people good health, happiness, and prosperity in the new year.
Engage in ujamaa, which is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and relates to working together to build businesses through cooperative economics.
Are you connecting with members of your local chambers of commerce? Have you provided referrals? Your network is your net worth, so expand your sphere of influence.
Have you asked for suggestions, advice, a favor, or help? Most people love to give opinions and help others.
Have you considered hosting your own event? They say that if you build it, they will come. Just make sure you add the fun factor if it’s a virtual event.
Show your creativity and make a special ugly sweater or decorate a hat and maybe it will start a conversation or make people laugh or smile. Show your creativity in the community with kuumba, another one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
A tip from networking concierge, Ashley Owens, is to “reach out to friends and family, as they are the low hanging fruit in a strong network. The key is to tell them your goals and who you are looking to meet, and perhaps Uncle Bob’s new wife has a helpful contact!”
👥 IF YOU ARE EMPLOYED, FOCUS ON UJIMA
What’s Ujima, you ask? It stands for collective work and responsibility, where people work together to benefit the community, and is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
So, why not volunteer your time to support a community organization you care about and meet some new people who have the same passion as you? You could also participate in a charity fundraiser. As a nonprofit leader, I can assure you that nonprofits welcome your time, talent, and treasure. Networkers can be net-givers too!
Networking during the holidays may allow you to advance your career if that is something you have considered. You can plant seeds for future reference, perhaps with some influential people.
Compliment your coworkers using the Kudos feature on LinkedIn, and don’t forget to schmooze your boss. Celebrate the great teamwork on a project.
Offer to be a mentor and engage in reverse mentoring. Learning never stops.
🥞 JOB SEEKERS, MAKE SURE YOU SHARE YOUR BEST LATKES AND KUGEL RECIPES
Yes, you can share your favorite cookie and (the best) prime rib recipes too. It’s an excellent opportunity to touch base with someone by giving them a fun recipe gift while sharing that you are seeking your next success story.
Remember to never ask for a job; only ask for information as the conversation progresses. You would think they would reply and thank you for the recipe, right? However, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a reply right away. Not everyone is on LinkedIn every day, and they may be away or have other things going on that they don’t immediately reply.
Now is a great time to put your job search in high gear and step on the gas, as many budgets open for positions starting the first of the year. The most important thing is maintaining positivity, as no one likes a grinchy curmudgeon.
Make connections at industry or association meetings. Prepare and be strategic and set networking goals, and track your connections. You can use a CRM system, Google sheets, Excel, or even try a job tracking tool like Teal.
Develop or revise your target company list. Then reach out to people that work in those companies and do an informational interview.
🕎 SHARE THE IMPORTANCE OF NETWORKING WITH BEGINNER DREIDEL MAKERS
Are you still a student or perhaps a recent graduate? Whether you are looking for an internship or your first post-graduate job as a traditional-age student, hang out with people your parents’ age. They have many connections and may be your Rudolph guiding you to your next opportunity.
Don’t forget to say THANK YOU, and it’s best you do so in writing. That personal touch can go a long way.
Reach out to recruiters and start cultivating relationships. Engage in job shadowing during your class breaks!
Make sure you have set up a LinkedIn profile to start adding networking connections. If you want free live training (where you can also network), join the free workshops every third Saturday of the month.
Join Clubhouse and check out the Thought Leadership Branding Club and other clubs of interest so you can start to grow your network by also connecting with people on LinkedIn. You need a minimum of 500 LinkedIn connections, which will help you in your career.
❄️ CELEBRATE THE WINTER SOLSTICE
Winter may be cold in many parts of the world, but you can undoubtedly make warm introductions to others. It’s easy on LinkedIn to leverage your connections that you think should know one another.
You might also consider using a voice memo or video message to give it that extra personal touch. These are sure to delight and surprise and will differentiate and distinguish you from others and will probably help you be more memorable!
🎄 HANG OUT WITH SANTA’S ELVES
Don’t forget to network with your alumni. They can be an excellent connection for you, and you can network your way to your next job or client through mutual connections and introductions.
Be a good listener no matter what and ask questions to show interest. Hang your stockings with care, and don’t monopolize conversations. Ensure you follow up with any promises you made.
If you are a shy elf (aka introvert), find a wing (wo)man to attend an in-person or virtual event with you. Think about conversation starters like a holiday vacation, a funny family story with a child or pet, your favorite holiday song, movie, food, or tradition, a funny gift received, or a white elephant.
🟢 REACH OUT TO THOSE WHO HAD A VISIT FROM THE GRINCH
Not everyone is happy during the holiday season. Job losses, loss of family members or fur babies, illnesses, and other things are happening. It’s called life, so be thoughtful.
Make sure you exercise emotional intelligence as you share your holiday spirit and talk to people you know and “strangers” you are about to meet for the first time.
🥤GET YOUR EGGNOG ON AND DEMONSTRATE IMANI
Demonstrate imani by showing your faith in people. Have some fruitcake with a side of connections and leverage your family and friends.
Cheers to you, and I hope this holiday season brings you great joy! Don’t forget the reason for the season with whatever that means to you.
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Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, that provides online career education and networking, running up to 50 events per month for anyone, anywhere.
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Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, delco.today and bucksco.today. You can see other topics she writes about on this Google Doc.