Twelve Tips for Holiday Networking

Article by Donna FeldmanWe hear over and over that the holidays are a slow time of year for doing business. Don’t you believe it! With all the holiday parties, events, and family visits, the holiday season provides some of the best networking opportunities of the entire year.

To help you make the most of your holiday season, The Networking Gurus share their Twelve Tips for Holiday Networking:

1. Say yes! to all those holiday parties and events.

Well, maybe not to everything, but if you’re looking to fill your pipeline with new people, you’ll meet them everywhere from the neighborhood open house to the office party, as well as those special holiday business networking events. Attending holiday events is also a good way to follow up with the people you already know, such as your clients, business acquaintances, associates, referral partners, and friends and family.

2. Host a holiday party.

Have an open house at your home, or host a party at a bar or restaurant. This is a great way to reach out and reconnect with people in your network.

3. Send out those holiday greetings.

This is a perfect time of year to send cards, letters, emails, and newsletters. It lets people in your network know you are thinking about them. And while you’re at it, you can send them to the people you’ve just met at all those holiday parties you’ve been going to.

4. Be prepared for each event you attend.

Be ready to clearly and concisely tell people what you do and who you do it for; have a prepared introduction that rolls off your tongue. And don’t forget your business cards! While you’re at it, bring your calendar and a pen so you can schedule follow-up meetings in the moment.

5. Ask for introductions.

Know who you want to meet and don’t be afraid to ask your friends, relatives, and old and new acquaintances for introductions.

6. Prepare some questions to get the conversation going.

How do you know the host/hostess? Who do you know at this event? What has been the highlight of your year? How’s the family? What plans do you have for next year? How was business this year? What kinds of clients are you looking for these days? (Be prepared to answer these questions as well!)

7. Talk about something other than business.

In building relationships, which is what networking is all about, you want to get to know people on a personal level, as well as a professional level. Take advantage of the holidays to relax and socialize and get to know people a little better.

8. Focus on other people.

Listen at least as much as you talk. It’s better to err on the side of listening too much rather than talking too much about yourself and your business.

9. Dress appropriately.

What kind of event is it? A dressy holiday party? An office party? A happy hour or open house? Whether it’s dress up or casual, make sure you look professional.

10. Send the host or hostess a thank you note.

Send a handwritten personal thank you note that lets them know what a wonderful time you had.

11. Call people.

You can make a more personal connection with people by calling them at the holidays. This works not just with friends and family but with your best business connections as well.

12. Have fun, but don’t eat or drink too much.

It’s the holidays, so relax and enjoy yourself. It’s fine to have a good time, but you don’t need to be the life of the party. Act like a professional at all times.

We think the holidays are a fantastic time of year to continue building your relationships through networking. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

This article was co-authored by Donna Feldman and Cindy Rold. Donna and Cindy are The Networking Gurus.

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