The holidays are here! With festive holiday gatherings comes a terrific opportunity to polish your networking skills. Sharing holiday cheer with others will often organically develop into leads, or offers of help. Here are some networking tips to keep in mind as you celebrate.
Ask people about themselves
If you’re nervous or timid about meeting new people, the best way to start is by asking questions. What do they do? What do they enjoy about their work? How are they affiliated with the party hosts? Not only do most people love to share stories about themselves, this is also an easy way to slip into networking mode (and hopefully learn something interesting / make a great new connection).
Tell them about yourself
Tell people what you do, and let them know if you are looking or open to new opportunities. People love to help; even more so at the holidays. They are likely to share names or leads that may be helpful, or follow up with you later.
Offer to help
Any time you are in a position to offer help or a referral, do so without expecting anything in return. This contributes to your “networking bank of goodwill”; you become that nice person who took the time to help. Later, if you need to call upon your network, people are even more likely to help if you’ve already established yourself as someone who helped or supported them.
Follow through and connect
After the event, make sure to follow through on any offers of help you made, and follow up with anyone who offered to help you. A LinkedIn connection request is perfect for this; use a brief personal note: “It was great meeting you at the dinner Friday night. Thanks for putting me in touch with Bob Smith; we’ve already had a chat. I’d love to keep in touch!”
With these tips in mind, holiday gatherings can easily help grow your contact list!
For more tips on how to network and follow up successfully, see When People Make You Tired: Networking for Introverts and How to be an Unforgettable Job Applicant.