Taking a break from networking during the holidays is so dumb. I understand that people get overwhelmed with events, gatherings, obligations and shopping! But the best time to look for a job, make connections, reconnect, and strengthen EXISTING relationships is during the holidays. Why? Because, you will see, be with, and be around lots of people. People who you care about and who care about you.
Isn't that awkward? To mix business and pleasure?
You gotta be kidding. Still think the world works in distinctly separate worlds of personal and professional? Wake up and smell the egg nog!
The collision between the personal and professional is where new opportunities and ideas are generated. Make the most out of it.
After WHAT you know it is WHO you know. And WHO you help.
Networking is the process of connecting and conversing. It is not just getting the stuff or the job. It is the wonderful process of discovering things through others. It is the rewarding process of helping others. It is not just the tunnel vision stalking for a specific goal. Yes, you have very specific goals or needs, and networking helps you pursue them, but it also leads to the unintended and unanticipated. Getting desired results by accident---that's serendipity!
Yes I know you are busy and this is a busy season.
If you want something done ask a busy person. The more things you do, the more things you can do. Lucille Ball
Busy times are the best times for things to happen. But don't get so busy with the chores that you miss the chances --the chances to connect. Don't rush past the reasons you are so busy.
For example, holiday cards are a nice way to reconnect--assuming you write something in them! I find it almost laughable that people send a card with their pre-printed name and nothing else. No photo, not letter, nothing personal. Like an unsmiling face that says in a monotone voice, "Nice to meet you." In my opinion that informationless card tells me I am just part of the masses--another undifferentiated recipient of a bulk mailing. I think some catalogues can be warmer and fuzzier. :)
I have oft quoted the BYU marketing study where nearly 600 people were sent Xmas cards at random from the Chicago telephone book--the next year more than 20% sent cards back to a person they never met! That's how personal holiday cards can be! That's how robotic we are!
So if we choose to build our network with cardboard using impersonal holiday cards, not getting out to visit people, avoiding personal conversations and contact, then your network will be flimsy and weak.
Some people think of their network as an attic full of memories and previously useful things. They rustle through the "boxes" of these forgotten contacts when they need something. Your network is not just a Rolodex of names, a lengthy list of friends on FB or even a collection of business cards. It is an organism, a living thing that needs nurturing and care.
This holiday season, make a special point to connect, engage and listen. Reconnect with people you like and care about. Even if it has been a long time. Make a personal effort to communicate and lend a hand.
Write a personal note and suggest you get together
Deliver a gift or card in person
Go to that extra holiday event to reconnect with old friends and meet new people
Host an event or two and invite some close and or new friends over.
- Enjoy the holidays with others
So instead of resting I am saying do a little more. Get a little uncomfortable and push yourself to have more holiday presence. --Not more stressed but more connected.
The holidays are an extraordinary time to advance your goals and the goals of others. Don't take time off and don't say you are too busy.
The holidays are not a time to isolate yourself, but rather an excuse to deepen our sense of community and connection.
Thanks for reading. John