It’s no secret; the holiday season is quickly approaching. With everyone often looking forward to a break from all the hard work, it’s extremely easy to miss out on one of the best networking opportunities of the year. Between meeting with family you only see once a year, to gathering with friends, someone is bound to have a need you can probably help with.
- Keep your ears open. It probably goes without saying, but you can’t help with opportunities you are not aware of. When you ask people how things have been going, be prepared to listen to their response and provide a well thought out reply. You never know what they might say. Often times these conversations will lead to you being able to help.
I once had someone tell me they were able to not only participate in their own conversation, but they were able to listen to other conversations going on around them too. If you are talented enough to do just that, you can capitalize on some of those opportunities as well. Do not be afraid to gracefully interject into another conversation when you have something of value to add.
- Bring business cards. Have you ever noticed how luck favors the prepared? Quick secret. It’s not luck. I bring my business cards every single time I go to meet people and I suggest you do the same. Odds are good you will end up talking business at some point and you never know when someone will take interest and ask for a card. I often take this practice a step further and bring my full business card book with me and leave it in the car.
You might be thinking to yourself. Why business cards? I’m a tech savvy person. That may be true, but that does not mean the people you are meeting with are. The best networkers come prepared to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds and varied abilities.
- Pull out your phone. Keep in mind, timing is everything and you will need to feel out your audience. I’d probably keep your phone tucked away at the dinner table and don’t try to engage grandpa in a high-tech conversation. However, most people are more than willing to engage with you before or after especially if you can show examples, photos, or reference something on your phone. If someone happens to show interest, perfect! You have your number one networking tool full of contact information in your hands ready to go.
Being in the web design and marketing business, I have had a lot of success showing interested parties some of our latest projects and creations. It tends to spur lengthy conversations and can often jog their memory enough where they remember hearing so and so needed help with their website. You can obviously adapt your presentation to be relevant to your business.
No matter what you are doing this holiday season, do not forget to network. After all, you never know when that next lead or referral will come to visit.
Photo from Pixabay