During this time of year, you may feel like things are slowing down, businesses are waiting until after the holidays to make decisions, postponing meetings and time off is getting in the way of progress.
Instead of being discouraged, you should look at this time of year as an opportunity to market and network and lay the groundwork for a great start to the New Year. Even though networking is a good thing all year round, it’s a real natural over the holidays.
A few tips to make the most of this time of year:
1) Accept all invitations. Remember that this opportunity to meet with so many people won’t come around again for another year. Also look around for holiday events at your professional organization, chamber of commerce or other business groups that don’t always get your time and attention.
2) Go prepared. Bring your business cards, make it a point to meet people you don’t know, go for the meaningful connection rather than the fly by.
3) Deepen your connections. For those you know, but haven’t connected with in a while, reconnect, ask them about their business, be sincere.
4) Spend more time listening than talking. Ask meaningful questions, ask for their opinion, ask about their plans and the direction of their business.
5) Have a strategy for staying in touch. Don’t use the catch line of ‘we should get together for coffee’ unless you really mean it – then make it happen. Let them know when they can expect to hear from you and when. Make the commitment.
6) Keep an open mind. If you are present and engaged and willing to sow the seeds, you don’t know what may come from it in the future. You just never know who you will connect with and who others might now that you would like to be connected to.
A lot of people are “waiting until after the holidays.” Don’t be one of them.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Look for opportunities to meet new people, stay engaged and lay the groundwork for a great 2013!