December—a wildly busy month threatening to burst the seams of the calendar. Maybe you and your family members are involved in a handful of "extracurricular activities" and have been invited to celebrate the holidays with a number of individuals and organizations—not only Christmas with your loved ones or Hanukkah with friends who might as well be family, but also a holiday party with your karate class, an invitation to be the plus-one for your significant other’s workplace celebration, and a New Year’s social with your friends and friends of friends. If you’re not quite sure if you’ll RSVP because you’re more comfortable staying home, you have a lot going on, or you’re exhausted at the mere mention of the month of December, I hear you; I also want to push you just a bit out of your comfort zone. These opportunities are more than they appear, for they are networking opportunities.
Supposing you are looking for work, a better-suited job, or are open to an advancement within a new workplace, carefully consider accepting most all holiday socials. Take a risk and get to know others in addition to enhancing your current relationships.
How to Intentionally Network This Holiday Season
Here are my suggestions for preparing to intentionally network this holiday season:
- Take the time to understand the benefits of a strong social network such as knowing individuals who can refine ideas with you, offer constructive criticism, or provide you with a job lead.
- Understand how to expand your social network when you are blind or visually impaired by taking initiative.
- Learn how to unlock the potential of your social network. Hint: You focus on helping others and cultivating relationships.
- Recognize what networking is not. Remember, social networking should be mutually beneficial.
- Minimize stress when accepting invitations by thoroughly preparing for the gathering.
- Wear a power outfit to each social activity so that you look and feel confident, competent, and sharp. You don’t want your appearance to distract from your personality and character.
- Review effective communication skills such as a firm handshake, eye contact, and conversation skills.
- Exchange contact information with those whom you connect. As soon as possible, make a few notes about your conversation.
- Follow up with a few individuals with whom you enjoyed talking. Let them know you enjoyed the conversation. You may have made a new friend; you may have met a mentor or mentee; you may have met a new hire; you may have met your future boss.
Lastly, for those whose December is anything but busy—take initiative! Perhaps you can host a gathering for friends and friends of friends. Maybe you can ask a friend or significant other if there is an event you can attend alongside him or her. You may also want to consider a hobby or social group you can join.
Get involved and have fun!