Ah, the holiday season offers so many opportunities to connect! It can be a thorny challenge, however, to negotiate the delicate art of holiday merriment at the office. I asked my favorite, smartest gal-pal experts to offer you their top “Do’s and Dont’s” for social capital-building during the holiday season:
DO continue to network during December. Many people think that no one will want to meet or develop business during the holidays, and it’s just not true. Those who know understand that business relationships must be nurtured continually, and people will wonder where you disappeared to.
DON’T feel you have to attend every event you’re invited to, especially those you feel will be “good business development.” Pace yourself and decide why you’re attending. Be sure to add in some fun!
DON’T underestimate the power of a handwritten note; even a signature on a printed holiday card shows the recipients that you took some time with your good wishes.
Managing Partner, Basden & Ivie
DO create a list of your top 25 – 50 contacts. Pick up the phone and call just to say hello and express gratitude. Do 1 or 2 per day. Chances are, you’ll get voice mail–and that’s okay. Leave a short, friendly message. You will make a memorable impression and it will fill you up as well.
DO set your networking vision, intentions, and goals for the new year. Big picture, what you hope to experience and accomplish strategically and a few specifics such as how, how often, and with whom you want to connect.
DO host or co-host a casual, intimate gathering of your own. Keep it simple. Invite no more than 20 people. Choose them carefully for a good mix and good conversation. Make it a time for building current connections. Or facilitate it as an intention-setting event. Those who attend will thank you.
Author, The Intentional Networker
DON’T shy away from the office holiday party.
DO attend and join in the spirit of conviviality.
DON’T remain at your table with your close colleagues. If your natural style is not to network, find one connector at the party and have this person make introductions for you.
Author, I Wish I’d Known That Earlier in My Career
DO give your boss a holiday card, thanking her for her help and giving an example of how much you’ve learned from her business expertise.
DO wear festive colors when networking, or at the office.
DON’T go for cleavage or miniskirts.
Cathering Storing Executive Image Consulting
DO consider gifts with deeper value. No business associate needs another box of chocolate, but a gift to a charity or enterprise that is meaningful for the recipient shows you’ve been paying attention.
DO reconnect with business associates you may want to work with in the future. The holidays are a great conversation starter.
DON’T forget that people like to wind down during the holidays. Asking too much from a contact now feels like a serious imposition.