The holiday season means many things to many people. Reunions with loved ones, warm meals, gift exchanges and other various traditions, to name a few. But when rekindling your bond with old friends, don’t neglect the connections you’ve made outside of your personal sphere. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with those in your professional network, and here are a few tips on how to turn the season for giving into the season for networking.
The holidays give your “cold” emails some warmth
Asking how someone is doing is always a great way to remind them that you care. Sometimes, the sheepish can find cold-emails a bit daunting, especially when there really isn’t much of a reason (aside of saying hello) to reach out to someone. It’s okay to feel shy, but that doesn’t mean you should be bashful and not hit send. One great thing about this time of year is that reaching out to your connections is actually kind of trendy: EVERYONE is doing it! Send out a few emails to wish your cohorts, coworkers and companions a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy New Year! Not sure what they celebrate? “Happy Holidays” is always fine too! This gives you the chance to reunite with contacts from “Christmas Past.”
Meet up for coffee (or one of the many, many holiday-themed beverages)
The holiday season might as well be informational season, too! This time of year can be stressful, so people tend to step away from their desks for breaks more often. What better way to score an informational than to ask someone to share their stories and advice over a grande gingerbread latte?
Hand-written notes always mean more than thank you emails
It’s better to give than to receive, and smart networkers know that the more you give, the more you’ll get! If you want to send a note to a contact, but feel an email is too, well, digital, send a hand-written holiday card to remind your contacts you’re thinking of them. Moo.com allows you to create holiday post cards, perfect for sending to coworkers, industry friends, and newly found contacts!
Company holiday parties, potlucks and Secret Santas?
Holiday parties are usually one of the few occasions where you get to see your coworkers loosen up and have fun (whether you like it or not). They’re also awesome opportunities to get to know your coworkers better. Talk about topics that aren’t work related. Share stories and ideas that could spark future creative collaboration. If you’re assigned a Secret Santa, take the liberty of doing your research on your coworker to really get them something you think they’d appreciate. It sounds like a no brainer, but they really will remember when you give a gift that truly pertains to their interests and hobbies, and isn’t just another Rudolph-themed tie or giant candy cane. After the party scene dies down and everyone goes home, follow up with an email about how you enjoyed getting to know them outside office hours and would love to do it again.
Do you have any other ideas on how to use the holidays to do some fun networking? Leave us a comment and let us know.