So, it’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving… let the holiday season commence! As I have suggested many times over the years, something happens in American culture between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day… with the exception of professionals in retail, life for others of us seems to sssslllloooowwww dddddoooowwwwnnnn…. The atmosphere becomes more festive (and perhaps a bit more stressful for some), we’re distracted by the holiday goings on happening around us, etc., etc. So, rather than stray from your desire to connect with others, capitalize on this time to get out there and raise a “glass of holiday cheer” to renew previously established friendship and create new ones, too!
My little “joke” is that this is a good time to change up your networking schedule. It’s no longer merely Coffee-Lunch-Coffee; now it’s Coffee-Lunch-Coffee-Drinks! There is one more time of day ripe for getting together with others in a window from about 4:30pm to 7pm. So, why not schedule a Holiday Happy Hour? It can be very casual and somewhat informal – just a chance for you to be the impresario and gather some folks who you would love to see.
Here are a few ideas for organizing such an event…
- Make a list of people in your network who would benefit from knowing one another. Aim for a group of about 10-20 people… you’ll probably get about 50 – 75 percent of them to show up.
- Send everyone an email with something like the following…
Sending this to a group of amazing people who I greatly respect and admire and who need to know one another! Let’s toast to the holidays. I’ll be at [name of restaurant] on [date] from 4:30-6:30pm – join me for an informal celebration! Please let me know if you’ll be there so I can hold a few tables. Hope to see you there!
- Show up! Get there a little early, hold a few tables, maybe order an appetizer or two and wait for the magic to happen. Once others arrive, be sure to introduce them to one another, share their names, a little about what they do (you might give some advance thought to one or two key or special facts about each of your “guests” to utilize for such introductions… it’ll make them feel great and make you the expert!) and how you know one another.
Voila! A quick and easy PARTY with great ancillary benefits to advancing professional relationships. Just make it fun! Enjoy yourself. Keep your wits about you. Come January and beyond, the seeds you plant during this time of year will pay dividends.
Have other ideas for gathering folks together? Please take a moment to share them at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com. Happy Holidays and Happy Networking!