To show you how to make the most of this holiday season, we asked top professional-networking experts whom we interviewed during 2002 to return for a repeat performance. This time we asked the experts just two questions:
What are your top networking tips for the holiday season?
What’s your top networking tip for the new year?
Because we interviewed specialists in eight different areas, we have a to-do list for every interest:
Top Networking Tips for the Holiday Season
In general: Don’t slack off during the holiday season. Instead, attend holiday parties, volunteer for charitable projects, and re-establish contact with people you met during the past year.
Job-Hunting: December is a great time to look for a job. There’s less competition, plus many companies want to assemble teams before the start of the new year.
Sales: Go deeper, not wider. Instead of seeking new prospects, deepen your current relationship with clients and customers.
Public Speaking: Seek opportunities to speak about yourself, even briefly, at holiday events and get-togethers.
PR: Look sharp, carry plenty of business cards (and a notebook and pen to get information from those who forget their cards), and follow up.
Free Agent: Reconnect with everyone you’ve worked with or for. Get back in touch!
Spiritual: Check your personal network—does it support you or drain you? If the latter, think hard about what you need in 2003 to fulfill your human (not just business) needs for support and connection.
1. Job-seekers should increase their level of activity during the holiday season. People tell me, “Well, it’s the holiday season; no one’s in that frame of mind. They’re taking vacation. No decisions are made now.” I’d be foolish to say they’re 100 percent wrong, but you might be surprised at how many decisions do get made during this period, especially when it comes to hiring. Companies want to know who will be on their team in the new year. Yet most of the job seekers I talk to — and I talk to thousands — take those last couple of weeks off because they don’t think anything’s happening. That’s why I recommend you step up your activities. You now have far less competition.
And if I’m the company, do you know what a call from you says to me? Knowing that most people assume not much happens during the holidays, if I’ve got a job candidate who not only contacts me, but heightens his or her activity, I’m going to be impressed.
I’m going to say, “That’s the kind of person I want on my team. They didn’t take these two weeks off. In fact, they saw it as an opportunity.”
2. Unfortunately, I’m the bearer of bad news. Our hyper-twitchy job market will continue throughout 2003. This two-year period of company closings, mergers and acquisitions, and layoffs is not a passing fad. We aren’t going back to the good old days of the late ’90s. For the foreseeable future, companies will have to continually reinvent themselves to be more fluid and flexible. Part of that is to pare down their infrastructure. They’ve got to be in a position to respond to market and competitive pressures. The situation is not going to change anytime soon. And even if the economy turns around, don’t count on an increase in hiring&mdashit’s not likely to happen.