Friday, 18 December 2015

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! (For Growing Your Business Network)

Ahhh… the holiday season…parties, giving, high spiritedness and goodwill toward men. Can you think of a better time of year to network? And grow your business or move forward with your career? Think parties, greeting cards, holiday emails and holiday social media posts. All wonderful ways for you to connect, re-connect and develop your business network.

So, get into the holiday spirit!

Thinking of skipping your holiday office party? That would be a mistake - a missed opportunity to become more intimately acquainted with the people in your company who could make a positive impact on your career. Use the time to bend the ears of your superiors – to make an impression so that the next time you pass them on your way to the lunch room, they notice you, remember you, and address you by name. And do I need to spell out that when I say, “make an impression,” I’m not talking about you getting so plastered on the free alcohol that you try to pull the CEO out onto the dance floor to partake in your drunken version of the Macarena. Use common sense where the open bar is concerned. You know what you can handle – don’t overdo it. One or two drinks are plenty.   

If it’s an industry party, all the better. Bring plenty of business cards - and your A-game social skills. This isn’t the time to be shy – let your inner social butterfly take over and take advantage of the abounding good spirits! Introduce yourself or request introductions from your current contacts and acquaintances.

And do you know what the most important part of networking is? The follow up. If you get thirty business cards, put them in your contact lists and then do nothing with them, what’s the point? A follow up phone call or email within a few days is all it takes to connect. Don’t be lazy about it… I know you’re busy over the holidays, but this is important.

And while we’re on the subject of emails, a nice “Wishing you a Happy Holiday…” greeting email that includes a festive image is all it takes to remind people that you’re still around and that you’re ready, willing and able to be of service. Or, you can send a card via regular snail mail… that works as well. The point is that you just reach out with a light touch periodically, and the holidays provide you a perfect opportunity to do that.

Last but not least, the holiday season is the time to create a joyously themed social media campaign that will make people stand up and notice your brand. Social media platforms are there. Use them! Decorate your profile and cover photos so that they’re Merry and Bright! Create a holiday themed offer for your clients and prospects – perhaps a limited time Christmas offer/discount on your products or services. Organize a holiday-themed game or contest and offer a prize to the winner(s). Or a give-away is always a popular thing. Maybe something like a “12 Days of Christmas” give-away where a prize is awarded on twelve consecutive days.

The point is, no matter what, the holidays are the perfect time to network. Leverage that and take advantage of all the Holiday Cheer! And of course, spread a lot of it around!

Have a happy and safe holiday, Everyone! And enjoy!

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