Networking during the holidays – Part 1: Personal networking

The holidays are a great time to work on building your personal and professional networks. Let’s first explore personal networks.

While we often see the holidays portrayed as “the busiest time of the year,” it’s also a time when people like to catch up with others they haven’t seen or connected with in a while. In this two-part series, you’ll explore some tips for building your personal and professional networks during the holidays.

As you consider your personal network, think of opportunities you may have during the holidays to connect or reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Michigan State University Extension suggests these tips.

  • Don’t assume everyone is busy all of the time during the holidays. While it does tend to be a busy time of year with family parties, travel, shopping, etc., there tends to be chunks of downtime where individuals find themselves hoping to make connections with others.
  • Be bold—make “the ask.” Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to make a phone call or ask a friend to have coffee. If those in your personal network are too busy at the holidays, they’ll tell you it’s a bad time. However, if you don’t ask, you don’t know. Someone has to make the first move and it may just lead to a stronger friendship or a rekindling of an old friendship.
  • Have a shared experience. Shared experiences build connections. Whether your shared experience is sitting in a coffee shop, a walk downtown or visiting a holiday craft show, we know people connect best when they have a shared experience. If possible, don’t leave your connection to an email, but rather meet up in person with your friend and have a shared experience.

In networking, we know opportunities happen in small circles, meaning when you have a chance to connect with others on a smaller, intimate level, your relationships will be stronger and it’s easier to make connections for future opportunities. Remember that when you’re connecting with others, you never know where your networking may take you, personally or professionally.

Read “Networking during the holidays – Part 2: Professional networking.”

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