The weather is turning cooler, more seasonal, and holiday decorations pepper the landscape. As we sail into the holiday season, people are shifting from intimate social gatherings with close friends and family to socially engaging winter holiday activities: holiday shopping, volunteering, attending parties and celebrations, etc.
And, while lots of people slow down and disconnect a bit from their work lives as the year draws to a close, it can be a wonderful time to create new connections and fruitful relationships as you begin a new year.
Whether a new job or career is on the forefront, (and especially if one is), here are a few tips for connecting during holiday festivities:
- Keep personal ‘business’ cards on hand
Even if you are gainfully employed, a card with your contact information and area of expertise can help facilitate new connections (no fumbling for pen and paper, no risk of misspellings or difficult to read handwriting). Don’t have any? Order some for free at vistaprint.com.
- Be able to describe what you do in a compelling way in a minute or two (over a platter of veggies and dip!)
Instead of reciting a job title when someone asks what you do, think about how you help people and/or organizations and then talk about it in a way the creates interest and intrigue. What problems do you solve and how do those that you help benefit? Ex: I help people connect with and honor what’s most important to them and live more balanced and fulfilling lives as a result … (life coach)
- Forget about the traditional concept of networking and get curious
Take genuine interest in those around you. Get really curious about who they are and what they do. Engaging based on curiosity and mutual interests creates an fertile environment for personal and/or professional relationships to flourish. Along the way, you may find out that your sister’s new boyfriend’s cousin has a contact at that company you’ve been scoping out!
- Ask for what you want
If you meet someone who might be a useful ally in your career or job change, ask for what you want. Interested in learning more about their organization? Ask for an informational interview or a tour. Do they have a friend at the organization you’ve been researching? As for an introduction. Feel a sense of connection? Ask for a lunch or coffee date.
- Consider how you can help those you meet
Do you know of a person your new contact really needs to meet? A great book you read recently that they’d enjoy? An event they might like to attend? Sharing information of interest to others is a great ways to connect (and reconnect after your initial meeting).
Whether attending the festivities of family, friends, your employer, your spouse/partner’s employer, professional associations, etc., you never know who you’ll meet and where that new connection might lead.