Read on for important holiday season networking tips from Mary Crane.
If you recently entered the workforce, or are looking for a job, the upcoming holiday season affords you a mountain of opportunities to build critically important relationships. To make the most of the next few weeks, keep the following five things in mind:
1. Attend every holiday party to which you are invited. These events serve as important opportunities to connect with coworkers and clients. As soon as an invitation arrives, RSVP indicating that you will attend. (From that point on, only an absolute emergency excuses your absence.) If several events are scheduled on a single night, make an appearance at as many as possible.
2. Use holiday parties to build your professional network. As soon as you arrive at a party, request a beverage and hold it in your left hand. This will keep your hands at waist level, making you look comfortable and approachable. Obtain either a beverage OR something to eat—never both. Keep one hand available to greet others.
3. Focus on festive communications. Holiday parties are intended to be happy, social gatherings. They are not the time to press for a raise or a promotion or to complain about a coworker or an assignment. Be prepared to congratulate others on their 2016 achievements. If you don’t know what to say, ask others about their holiday plans.
4. Send holiday greetings—paper or electronic—to every key professional contact you’ve made during the previous year. Adding a personal note—one or two sentences will suffice—helps you become memorable.
5. Don’t forget to extend holiday wishes to your operational network, the people at work who help you accomplish day-to-day tasks, including administrative staff, the mailroom, the tech help desk, and so forth. At a minimum drop off a card, and in some cases, consider giving a small business-appropriate gift. A tin of cookies or a gift card for a local coffee shop can help you build a relationship with the people who help you succeed.