Today’s message is all about tips for successful holiday networking.  There is a time, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve when the atmosphere changes.  I don’t know what it is.  It’s not just that it gets cooler outside or that the promise of snow becomes a reality.  I don’t think that it is really calendared, or that employers wish for it to happen, but work seems to slow to a rather snail-like pace.  Perhaps not for retail, mind you, but certainly for other businesses.  Additionally, people turn their attention away from the hustle and bustle of work life and begin to feel what is typically termed “holiday cheer.”

OK – set that aside for a moment.  There is another phenomenon that happens among many job seekers.  I’ve heard it too many times.  The story line goes something like, “I’d like to find a new job, but, you know, nobody hires during the holiday season, so I think that I will just take off some time to relax and I will get back to my job search after the start of the year.”  You’ve heard it, right?  It’s a mistake!  Don’t take your eye off the prize now!  The holiday season is a wonderful time to get your name out there, to let people know what you are interested in doing and that you are serious.

Bringing all of this back together, here’s the secret… seize the holiday season!  Whether you are a job seeker, a sales person or simply a master networker, you can add a whole new dimension to your holiday cheer and increase your networking more than 30% by employing my super holiday networking tactic:  Coffee-Lunch-Coffee-DRINKS!

I discovered this secret weapon of networking mastery many years ago.  It turns out that many people are willing to break away from the standard work schedule between 4-4:30pm to meet YOU, my dear networker, for a glass of wine to toast the season!  Don’t like wine?  No need to whine… go for a beer.  Not the drinking type, my beverage of choice is always a Coke.  If that doesn’t work for you, go with the super fancy ice water with a lemon wedge.  The point is, because office life does have a tendency to slow down and because working hours are often mysteriously be replaced by office holiday parties and luncheons, it is within your power to finally get together with that awesome contact that you have wanted to meet or have had trouble connecting with by suggesting one of four different times to meet during the day vs. the normal three that I personally tout.

And, given the holiday cheer component of my message, it might be a particularly good time to re-connect with someone with whom you have lost touch or have been thinking about but simply haven’t had the chance to catch up with in some time.  Go for it!  They almost certainly have been wishing to catch up with you, too!

I hope that you all capitalized on some great bargains during Black Friday… we slept in, grabbed breakfast, then waded into the fray at Nebraska Furniture Mart, ourselves, before returning home for leftovers.  Perhaps tomorrow you and I both will count ourselves among the supporters of Small Business Saturday, a relatively new construct marketed by my friends at American Express OPEN – you simply need to make a purchase at a small, locally-owned business.  Think of who on your list you still need a gift for after the bargain hunting of today is complete, then “think small” when you go to purchase a little something for them.  I wish you luck!

My Small Business Saturday message will be about helping you to know when you’ve arrived.  Until then….

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