The holidays are here and you will probably be invited to several festive events! Just because it is a holiday party doesn’t mean you have to stop networking. You will be surrounded by so many people. This will be a great time to cast your “net”. Many people will bring up business during small talk just to break the ice. Do not pass on the opportunity to find that next client during a holiday soiree. Here are a few helpful tips you should remember about networking that will help you grow and enhance your professional network:

  1. Networking should be a Win/Win for both parties involved:

There should be a mutual benefit for each party when it comes to networking. When you are exchanging business cards or information, you should be asking yourself, “How can I help this person? How can I be of service to them?” You can’t always expect to be on the winning end of the exchange. Usually, the most valuable thing you both equally have in common is information. It is not unusual for me to come right out and ask, “How can I help you?” during the course of my first scheduled meeting. This puts the ball back in the court of the person you wanted information from. Now, they may feel obliged to reciprocate your offer.

 

  1. Don’t Expect An Immediate Friendship or Reward

Important relationships should be nurtured. The key is to make sure you continue to follow-up without appearing to be a stalker. Consider this part of networking your long-term strategy that could one day blossom into something meaningful (I didn’t say,“BIG”). The rewards from your follow-up could take months and sometimes years. One of my largest deals took almost two years to come to fruition. The client was waiting to see if I was still going to be in business. One day out of the clear blue, he called me because my newsletter popped up in his email.

 

  1. Utilize Your Social Media Contacts

You do not have to depend on a networking event to make a connection. You probably have hundreds of connections right at your fingertips. Find out what you have in common by reading their profile and send an in-mail message to meet for coffee or tea. Because it’s the holidays, people have downtime and may make time for a quick meeting or conversation if they are not traveling.

 

  1. Expand Your Network Beyond Your Network

On my admin days (you need these as a business owner) I take out a little time to comb through Eventbrite and see what events are happening in my city. You will find events that are free and some which require a fee. This is a fantastic way to meet people who are not in your personal or professional network. People know people and sometimes those who you least expect could end up being your best advocate. Don’t be afraid to network outside of your circle.

 

  1. Follow-up

After connecting with someone of interest, I always follow-up within 24-48 business hours. Do not let a week go by before you send a follow-up email or a hand written note. You may not be so interesting if they can’t remember you because you waited to long to follow-up. Again, because of the down time during the holidays, you may be able to schedule a follow-up meeting sooner rather than later.

 

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Terrell Dinkins is a wealth empowerment speaker and author of “One Bucket at a Time: A Woman’s Guide to Creating Wealth”.  Follow Terrell Dinkins on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @onebucketnation and www.onebucketnation.com

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