As the year is coming to a close, people are busy trying to balance their work and personal life around holidays and year-end events. This is a tough time of year to network with new prospects, but can be a great time to follow-up with existing connections. While networking, try to focus on the relationships that you’ve already built to continue a long-lasting rapport into the New Year. This gives a great opportunity to re-establish old connections and continue with current ones. Here are the types of networking events to focus on toward the end of the year to make the MOST out of the limited time we all have this season. Industry and organization events I get it – there are SO MANY gatherings in December. Every person you know invites you to three events. It’s easy to get caught up and spend time spinning your wheels. To narrow it down, I recommend only attending holiday events for the industry organizations and groups that you have been an active member in all year. Don’t use December as a chance to test new groups – you are likely not to make quality connections in the bustle of the season, nor be remembered long after. Instead, prioritize the groups and organizations you have been active in all year. Reaffirm relationships you have been growing and bring a personal touch to those you have been building business with. Client events These events are the BEST option for networking ROI during the holidays. Host your own event to connect with existing clients and thank them for their business. I suggest asking them to invite a friend that might be a good connection for others at the party. Show your appreciation of the support you’ve received throughout the past year by making plans to follow-up after the New Year to talk about new goals and customer needs. Let them know that you’re available to help them smoothly transition into the New Year and continue business as usual. Pro tip: Host a Thanksgiving event in November instead of a Christmas event in December. You will have less calendar competition, and the spirit of the holiday better aligns with the purpose of the party. Not to mention, events are more affordable a month earlier! Digital and online groups Don’t count out new relationships entirely! Networking is no longer only for people meeting face to face, and social media and other websites across the Internet have opened many possibilities for people to network online. Use the digital platform to get a head start on next year’s pipeline:
- Look up social media pages for those you have met over the year networking in person. Follow their pages, share their posts, and drop them a note to schedule a coffee meeting in the New Year.
- Improve your digital presence with a LinkedIn profile refresh and website update. Make some recommendations for those who helped you out this year to stay top of mind, and hopefully get some recommendations back!
- Join online groups that share resources and industry trends to develop your network with those you may not have met face to face.
To get you started, I invite you to join my online networking group, “Your Networking Toolbox.” It is for any person seeking to learn and improve their networking skills and strategy, as well as those willing to share their experience and knowledge. Remember, networking is a huge part of growing your business, client base, loyalty, and customer satisfaction. Be on the lookout for my step-by-step guide on starting your own networking organization coming in 2016! Click here to sign up! image credit: http://www.thenextwomen.com/2012/09/20/how-do-women-network-differently-men firstname.lastname@example.org
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