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Holiday Season Equals Networking Paradise

Here’s why.

December 4, 2008
by Debra Feldman

The approaching holiday season is networking paradise and the perfect time for you to give back to your contacts. Successful networkers make it a point to seek out ways to help others, often assisting and supporting generously before it is requested. The most reliable networking strategy that guarantees results promotes good relationships by concentrating on giving more and expecting less.

The Why

Relationships are cemented and continue to thrive when both sides recognize benefits and value. Productive networking is relationship-driven, not transaction-oriented. The holiday season is the perfect time to nurture relationships, create lasting positive impressions, get on the radar and be remembered for your remarkable assistance. Use corporate events, social occasions and community celebrations to build fresh prospects and strengthen existing contacts. Extend invitations — whether or not they are accepted — to connect and let others know that you are thinking of them.

The How

Almost any neighborhood, family or business gathering may produce a conversation with someone who has information you can mine unobtrusively for leads to new career challenges for yourself and those you know (i.e., reasons for more networking!). With so many venues to choose from, select ones where you are most likely to reach your networking goals. These encounters could be your big break to chat with current or former employees at your target companies, exchange business cards with an industry leader or arrange a future meeting with someone difficult to reach. Brief interactions can be springboards to great relationships if you find ways to provide support and thereby sustain the connection.

Want to also enhance your networking efficiency to generate even better results? Prepare thoroughly in advance. Anticipate questions and have well thought-out and concise responses. Listen actively so you can address and keep up your end of the discussion. Come armed with business cards that have your contact information as well as a few bullet points on the reverse side pinpointing your areas of expertise.

To further increase your networking effectiveness, attend gatherings where you will feel comfortable and can put your best foot forward. Avoid situations where you might be stressed, rushed or distracted from your networking mission.

Conclusion

Stay focused in order to reap the full benefits of networking purposefully. Don’t overindulge in food or beverages. Conduct yourself professionally at all times. Dress conservatively. The ROI (return on investment) is simple. Just one meaningful dialog creates measurable value from every networking event. It’s the quality not the quantity of relationships developed, pursued or renewed. Remember, it is not just what you know and who you know, but who knows what you know that produces new opportunities in today’s job market.

Happy holidays, happy giving and happy networking!

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Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision-makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques profiled in Forbes magazine. In addition to her private practice, writing featured columns and conducting exclusive workshops, Debra is a recommended resource to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.

© Debra Feldman, 2008