Run, run, run your fastest mile ever—and then skid toward a grinding halt. It’s not pretty or graceful, but it does explain the December dynamic. You’re doing all the things at record pace so that you can enjoy the cozy slowdown of holiday time.
While some may see this time as both too busy and too slow for networking, I strongly disagree. This is a moment to turn up the volume on your networking efforts, so you can leverage all of the natural connections, happiness and well…wine.
Here are 4 stress-free ways you can get your holiday networking game on!
1. Trot out your elevator pitch at holiday parties
You’ve been meaning to revise that elevator pitch about who you are and what you do at your company. Now is the perfect time to practice! As a reminder, your elevator pitch can be as short as 3-4 sentences. It should sound like YOU, your personality, your words and not C3PO, if you know what I mean. Here’s one of my go-to articles with a formula for pitches that work for most people. You’re going to be talking with many people at gatherings with colleagues, family and friends, so experiment with different ways of wording your pitch based on your audience. If networking is not your thing, remember my advice from my New Networking Rules: For People Who Hate Networking—think of it as connecting instead!
2. Schedule time for coffees and lunches
Many people (like me!) choose to stay in town during the December holiday week — and their days are virtually meeting-free. Reach out to those colleagues with whom you’ve been meaning to schedule time and put a lunch or coffee on the calendar. Choose a fun venue! Most likely, if they’re in town, they have little to do beyond clean up their desks and procrastinate from their self-imposed head start on projects that aren’t due for weeks. And if they’re not in town, it’s a good excuse to schedule time on the calendar for January.
3. Use holiday cards as an excuse to connect
If you’re a frequent reader of the blog, you know that I don’t send holiday cards because the process doesn’t bring me joy. That said, I love receiving cards. I often use the card as an opportunity to drop a note to the senders to see what they’re up to beyond the obvious having a beautiful family and dog. Whether I reach out by email, Facebook or even a— wait for it—phone call, that person is always pleased to connect and hear that I loved the card. Clearly, I know how much effort goes into them! Some of the folks on this list are former colleagues and favorite bosses so reconnecting with them strengthens my relationships and gives me that chance to tell them they made an impact on my life—in a personal way.
4. Send a holiday email instead of a card
If you’re like me and you’re off the physical holiday card train, consider sending an email card to friends and colleagues letting them know what you’re up to and that you’re grateful for having them in your life. This is an easy way for you to reach out and re-ignite your connections while also giving your people an easy way to respond. When you receive replies and well wishes, it’s a fantastic reminder of the wealth of people in your orbit. What a great way to refuel for the exciting year ahead!
With all of these networking tips, one thing that helps them stick for me is setting an intention. For many, the holidays can be a rough time of year. There’s the appearance that everyone is over the top happy and you’re the only one that is in a reflective place or in a time of uncertainty. Guidance I often give in this scenario is, "You do you!" When you’re connecting, don’t feel like you need to pretend you’re ecstatic about life right now. If you’re reflective, set an intention of curiosity or experimentation. If you’re down, go in with the intention of being inspired by others who have gone through a hard time and have found happiness, or in finding three small things to encourage you. When you’re authentic about your connections, it will be clear—and in those connections, you may even find the energy and excitement to move through where you are.