Holiday Networking: Make it Simple, Make it Brief and Don’t Make it All About You

new years pictureDecember is typically a great month full of even more opportunities to get together with friends, family and business associates.  With the holidays driving the month most get-togethers are centered on appreciation for those we know, the blessings in our life and an excuse to get out a bit more and have fun.

 

Christmas parties, holiday parties, Hanukah parties it does not matter – the underlying reason for the get together is the spirit of the season.

 

That does not mean there is not an opportunity to network, oh no, there are even more opportunities to network.  However, when most activities are holiday driven the approach should be adjusted just a bit.

 

The spirit and season is about giving and sharing.

 

Therefore, your networking speech should be tightened up just a bit to make it less about you and more about others.

 

Instead of your normal 30 second “here is all my value” speech, try to condense it to about 10 seconds and then translate to the spirit of the event.

 

Personally in response to what I do I could respond, “I help people get noticed to get hired, which could be a great Christmas present.”

 

Just for the record, there always seems to be that lingering political correctness over Christmas/Holiday thing going on so try not to focus on that so much and focus more on the meaning.

 

In my personal opinion and experience people do not get offended if you say Christmas rather than holiday if the context is about the joy of the season or wishing them health, happiness and blessings.

 

Instead of the typical follow up questions during networking – the “what is your target market, is there anyone I can introduce you to blah, blah, blah – try asking something in the spirit of the season.

 

For example, you could inquire if there are any special family traditions that they will be doing this year, or what was their favorite tradition they did as a kid that they will be doing with their kids/grandkids or even state that you are always looking for new seasonal recipes – do they have any favorite that they could share.

 

Yes, you are networking; but you are also there to celebrate the season so relax and enjoy yourself, be yourself and don’t make it all about you.

 

Make those connections and be sure to tell people that you would love to follow up with them to find out more about what they do and how you can help them, but right now how about offering them another cup of eggnog?

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

http://www.CareerPolish.com

Learn More By Teaching More

Hoarding your skills and abilities does not equate to job stability it results in isolation.  Every organization is dependent upon cooperation and collaboration therefore isolation is in direct conflict with growth.  Simply put – it is a good way to work yourself out of a job.

 

Whether you are happily employed or looking for the right opportunity there is one thing you can do to improve your existing skill set: help someone else.

 

I love giving seminars and facilitating workshops.  It keeps me fresh, lets me continually see other’s perspectives and make sure I am on focus with what I am doing.  I love mentoring because even if we are discussing something that has become routine to me, explaining and discussing it helps me re-evaluate my approach and thought process.  It also allows for someone else to question my methods or processes, which is truly a benefit and a powerful way to improve my level of service to others.

 

In job searching it can assist you by allowing you to remain fresh in your field and also build your confidence in selling yourself to others.  It also allows you the opportunity expand on your network.  You never know where that next great lead will come from.

 

Most importantly, it allows you in any situation to give back and help someone else.

 

Sometimes we get so ingrained in what we are doing we get tunnel vision.  We can only see our goals, our troubles or our vision.  We loose site of those around us.  When we turn our attention away from ourselves and start giving to others we often find when we look back at our goals or vision they become more clear and our troubles much less.

 

And by golly, it just feels good to help someone else.

 

If you are job searching join a professional network or business group, offer yourself as a mentor to others in that field.  At work let junior colleagues know you are willing to offer assistance if they need it or tell your boss you would like to serve as a mentor or trainer if an opportunity arises.

 

Open yourself up and put your self out there for people to call upon you to help and you will be amazed at how much they end up helping you on so many levels.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Giving and Receiving

I am a big proponent of asking people for help.  There are many things in this world I just don’t know so I am smart enough to know to ask for help.  For those in transition I commonly suggest requesting informational interviews and asking for help.

But perhaps I should clarify this: yes, do ask for help but no, do not expect someone to do all the work for you or overstep your bounds.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean by stepping over your bounds:

I have a friend who is a florist.  She does amazing work and is a very intelligent, earning a marketing degree.  She does a lot of design and creative projects and amazes me with her abilities.  However, there is one individual that frequently asks her to come over and re-design a table, a room, a profile, a house – you name it, she just expects that my friend will do it.

I knew of a gentleman that lived down the street from a cardiologist.  His next door neighbor had to have some tests run and requested copies of all the reports.  Upon receiving the reports he promptly walked up to the cardiologists home, handed him the test results and said, “Can you take a look at these for me and tell me what they say?”

I have another friend that teaches a business basics class, primarily how to write a business proposal.  Every once in a while he will get a participant that will hand him their proposal after the class and ask him to “just take a look”.  After giving a few suggestions he hands it back and inevitably the participant gets upset and says, “I thought you were going to re-write it.” 

Or asking if your friend if know of an individual you can contact then asking them to set up the appointment for you.  Polite is asking them to make an email introduction, rude is asking them to be your personal assistant.

You see, people are willing to help, but please do not take advantage of them.  You are not receiving assistance in that manner, you are burning bridges. 

If you are unsure if you request is approaching the “over the line” test then simply add this sentence to the end of the request:

“Please feel free to say no, I will not be upset.  I am looking for help and sometimes I get a little exuberant and request too much.  So if it is all you have to say is ‘I’m sorry I can’t do more’.” 

Give them an out.  Then honor your word.  If they do not want to help do not hold a grudge, realize that you might have been asking a bit too much of someone.

I think people in general are good and kind and willing to help their fellow-man.  But I also think that people will help because they want to not because they are expected to – please do not put that expectation on them. 

And my last little gentle reminder of the day: be sure that you are always willing to help out your fellow-man.  Those that get without giving will never receive.  Those who give without expecting receive tenfold.