Networking During the Holiday Season
By Gabe Evans
During the holiday season we often find ourselves splitting time between family, church and school plays and our own office Christmas parties. Between all of the running around, eating ungodly amounts of food and enjoying time with friends and family; it can be easy for us to forget about our careers. Whether looking for a new career opportunity or simply trying to advance in the current position you hold, the holiday season can be an excellent time to expand your personal and professional network.
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day there will be no shortage of opportunities to see a lot of different people. Your company, and probably your spouse’s company, is going to have some type of holiday gathering. If you are blessed with young children, you will more than likely spend time with the “Who’s Who” of middle school parents at the local school or church play. If ever there was a time to use the “niceness” in the air to your advantage, this is it! Let’s face it, everyone is a little more open for water fountain conversation during this time of the year. Use this opportunity to introduce yourself to someone that you have only seen, but never spoken to. Take the time to learn more about your co-worker that you have worked beside for the last 5 years but really know nothing about.
Company Christmas Party – Maybe the most obvious of them all. Take the time to learn more about your current co-workers. Introducing yourself to upper management can be huge for your current career path. Don’t be the person at the party that never stops talking and annoys everyone, but step outside of your usual work hangout crew and be social. For those that work in larger corporations, you never know who you may meet next!
School/Church/Community Plays – Sure, your kid goes to school with little Johnny and Susie, but do you know what their parents do for a living or what company they work for? Johnny’s dad could very well be the CEO that you have been trying to get in front of for 6 months. Susie’s mom may be the manager that wouldn’t return an email but can’t escape face to face interaction. Taking a few minutes before or after the event to acknowledge those around you could open doors that you never imagined.
Networking Groups/Community Groups – Most of these events are typically held bi-monthly anyway, but during the holiday season even the guy that shakes everybody’s hand and gives everyone a business card and is seen at EVERY event is accepted with open arms. Attending the November and December group events can allow you the opportunity to speak with individuals that typically shy away from the casual conversation of a networking event. Show a true interest in learning more about fellow professionals in attendance and see how the New Year that is just around the corner can change drastically.
Social Media Platforms – Social media is an outlet that professionals should be using year around, but the holiday season can allow an opportunity to send special messages. Maybe you have LinkedIn contacts that you haven’t connected with recently or groups that you have been absent in attendance, but by taking a few minutes to send out a “season greetings” message you can find your foot slipping back into doors that were presently shut in your face.
The opportunities for networking are always out there, but taking the extra time during this holiday season to go above and beyond your regular efforts could prove to be the difference maker. Hopefully you will find this advice helpful in the coming weeks. From my family to yours, have a blessed holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!
Chattanooga Account Manager