Networking during the holidays – Part 2: Professional networking

The holidays are a great time to work on building your personal and professional networks. Now let’s explore professional 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 professional network, think of opportunities you may have during the holidays to connect or reconnect with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while. Michigan State University Extension suggests these tips.

  • Don’t assume that just because someone is busy personally means they also busy professionally. With the hustle and bustle that may be occurring during non-work hours, individuals may be left with work hours that are reserved for filing, catching up on emails or completing projects that have been otherwise neglected. Taking a break from office projects to connect with others might be perfect—you don’t know if you don’t ask.
  • Schedules are unique during the holidays between vacation schedules and businesses being open or closed. People may find themselves with gaps of time when they have no meetings or other obligations. Make “the ask” to meet with a colleague, partner or community organization. You may surprise yourself with the availability they have during the holidays that they don’t otherwise have.
  • Look through that stack of business cards you’ve been collecting throughout the year. The end of the year is a great time to prioritize which individuals and organizations you need to connect with sooner rather than later. Next, make a move to start those connections by sending an email, making a phone call or going in person to that organization to visit. Whether you actually get a chance to meet with those individuals or you make appointments for future meetings, don’t let those business cards sit in a desk drawer.
  • The holidays are a time that’s packed with amazing community events and opportunities to volunteer. Connect with a colleague or a community partner and see if there is a community event you can volunteer at or attend together. It’s really powerful to see community partners supporting each other!

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.  Often times with professional networking, we assume people are too busy to connect with others, but that’s simply not true. The holidays are a great time to make a connection with an individual or an organization. Even if that means setting appointments for a future date. 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 1: Personal networking.”

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