The holidays are a time of celebration and togetherness with friends and family members coming together to share gratitude, goodwill, and cheer. It’s also when many people take some time out from their hectic schedules to reconnect with loved ones. And while it’s tempting to retreat into our own private cocoons for the duration of the season, we should also make sure that we’re not isolating ourselves so much that we miss out on opportunities to build new relationships or strengthen old ones. To help you embrace the holiday season and walk away with more than just happy memories, here are five tips on how you can better your networking skills during the holidays:
Make an Effort to Engage
We’re so busy in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life that we often forget that it’s our efforts that make networking opportunities happen. We may be a bit protective of our time, but if you want to get more out of your social interactions you have to put yourself out there. Starting off with an informal greeting will help break the ice and establish rapport with others. Asking someone how they are doing or if they have any special plans during the holidays will show you have a genuine interest in them before you get into any conversations related to business.
Pay Attention to Body Language
People tend to focus on their families during the holidays so it’s important to remember that not everyone may respond positively when you try to connect with them on business matters. Taking note of a person’s body language may help you get a feel for how open they are to conversation. Sometimes people will just not be interested in chatting, but if they do happen to be open for conversation, embrace the opportunity. And don’t forget to be mindful of your own body language. People gravitate towards confidence, not nervousness or uncertainty.
Dress for Success
Holiday parties tend to be more dressy than a dinner with friends on a Tuesday night. Put away your jeans and sneakers and opt for a festive dress or tie. Looking your best will also help you feel more confident in social settings and give off the impression that you are there to socialize.
Stay Connected Via Email and Phone Calls
One of the best ways to stay connected with your network is by regularly checking in over email or with phone calls. Consider sending your connections a “happy holidays” email this year so that you’ll be on their minds. By keeping communication channels open, there’s always a chance a connection could reach out to you with a business opportunity or question during the holidays or beyond.
Networking comes down to believing in yourself and your abilities. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, knowing that while it may not always be easy, it could pay off in the future. Networking isn’t easy but it is worth it. The holidays are a great time to grow your business and expand your social circle, so take advantage of the opportunities available to you.