Ellen Volpe, president, American Business Associates
1. This is the time of year to express gratitude. Take inventory and communicate your feelings. This does not have to be an expensive proposition. People want to feel appreciated, and it feels good to pass it along. Informal get-togethers add to the sense of community and give you an opportunity to develop more rapport. Be outgoing and interested in other people. Ask them about themselves and learn something new. This is also a great time to analyze your database. Reconnect with great customers, prospects, and referral sources with whom you may have lost touch. Spend your social capital, and it will pay you dividends.
2. Spend more time being a resource, a problem solver for clients and referral or strategic partners. Promote your best contacts by highly recommending them. Always ask the question: How can I help you?
ALSO: Ellen Volpe was featured in our March 2002 article entitled Join a Network. (Second article from the top)
Daniel Pink, author, Free Agent Nation .
1. We’re having a holiday open house here at Pink Inc. world headquarters, which also happens to be the home I share with my wife and our three children. That blend of the personal and professional works well for us. I also try to plow through my contact manager this time of year — not to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but to see whom I’ve fallen out of touch with so I can reconnect.
2. Give more than you get.
ALSO: Read Daniel Pink’s full-length interview from July 2002, Going Solo: What It Takes to Become a Free Agent.
Donna Fisher, networking author and speaker
1. Pay attention to the people right around you. During the holidays we’re naturally around family, at company parties, and have many other opportunities to be around people and to network — if we’ll just pay attention to the people right around us.
It’s so easy to think, “Oh, I already know these people,” rather than, “I wonder what I could learn new about this person,” or “I wonder what went really great for this person this year.” Instead of focusing on those questions, we just let the conversation happen mindlessly. Small talk can make a big difference, but it’s best to create valuable small talk, rather than be at the whim of whatever comes our way.
We don’t know everything there is to know about each other, even people we’ve known a long time. Because each of us is growing and changing all the time, we’re not the same people we were a year ago.
2. Make connections that nurture your heart, your soul, and your spirit. When we’re connected at that level, then everything else will happen more easily and effectively.
I have a quotation on my desk that says, “Be with those who help your being.” So build a strong network of people who are like-minded, where you feel a heart connection, a kindred connection, a spirit connection. And be there for each other in that way. When you have that, you’ll feel more solid, more grounded, and more connected.
Networking is not just about having business connections and growing your business. I can have a great network of contacts out in the world, but if it’s draining me rather than inspiring me, then I’m missing out on an important part of the networking process.