No 1 – Saying Thank You
Networking is all about starting and building relationships. This is the perfect time of the year to look back and see who has helped you over the past 12 months and let them know that you appreciate what they have done for you.
This can be revenue for your business, or if you work in an organisation, a colleague may have assisted you personally or professionally during the year. It can be as simple as a handwritten Thank You card or Christmas Card. I find a Thank You card stays around the office for longer. Spend a little on getting it designed professionally so that your brand is conveyed in the best possible light.
If you really value the person/client, a voucher or hamper is a nice way of showing your appreciation. Show this person that you really value them being part of your network. A strong network is worth its weight in gold.
No 2 – Christmas Parties
This can be social or professional. Either way please be careful. I’ve seen too many reputations ruined at Christmas parties over the years. A few items to note.
- What is the dress code? Gents and Ladies, remember to dress appropriately.
- Within organisations, some senior level members choose not to attend as they still have a duty of care to their employees and are obliged to report any activities deemed inappropriate to HR.
- Social media. With everyone having the capability to broadcast pictures and videos worldwide through their smartphones, once you step outside your own home, you could potentially be on camera. Anything you can or do could potentially be online and found by your clients or employers. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but just be sensible.
- The last two points lead into this final point regarding the Christmas party season. Watch the alcohol levels. This works both ways. Your own consumption and also of those around you. Nobody wants to hear what you really think of them and you probably don’t want to hear what they think about you. My tip would be arrive early and leave before the levels of inebriation start to get a little too much for some people to handle.
No 3 – Time to Plan
With some down time usually on the cards for most of us, the end of year is the perfect opportunity to sit back and evaluate your networking strategy and see what return on investment you have received be it monetary, personally or professionally.
It can sometimes be difficult. You may have joined a networking organisation and you have not earned a single euro from it yet. That last word is the most important, yet. Building relationships and in essence, trust, takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Look back and ask yourself a number of questions.
- Did I invest enough time networking this year?
- Did I invest enough time upskilling and becoming a better networker?
- Did I invest enough time building the new and existing relationships I have?
- What am I going to do next year to make my networking efforts better?
- Who am I going to ask to help me?
The first 3 questions involve reflection and asking about your investment of time. The best networkers I know understand these two key points. It is an investment and it does take time.
The last two questions are looking to future plans and you need to realise that no-one is an island. The best business owners and employees out there see the value in being mentored by someone else.
In my previous 4 blogs I also cover interesting networking points such as “Listening and asking questions”, “Acting like a host and not a guest”, “Networking Goal Setting” and “5 Tools for Networking Successfully” which will all help you with networking over this holiday period. Enjoy and I hope to see you at a networking event very soon.
About Derek Reilly
Derek Reilly is a recognised expert in the areas of face to face and online networking. He previously worked with BNI (Business Network International) for nearly 10 years and has trained thousands of businesses on the power of networking. Derek is a regular guest speaker at conferences and company in-house trainings. He is proud to have spoken and trained on 3 continents (Europe, America and Asia). His progression within his own networks is testament to his knowledge of networking.