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