HOLIDAY NETWORKING IS THE BEST NETWORKING.
Sounds counter intuitive and goes against accepted wisdom, but holidays are the best time of year for networking. Folks are relaxed, in a giving mood and eager to interact with new people. There is something in the air. Plus, more decision makers are in town and attending events. It’s good PR for them and a break from their routine. So get out there. Shine your shoes and press your suit. Get your business cards ready and commit to at least three events a week.
But, here’s the catch. Don’t talk about your job search at length. Come to each event with great conversation starters about the event, current topics or anything of mutual interest. Create bonds, don’t just collect contact information. Show genuine interest in others, ask questions and listen to the answers without interrupting.
Want a sure-fire way to meet folks? Approach the people who are standing on their own. They are probably uncomfortable, a little shy and no doubt eager for someone to talk to. Just because they are alone doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting people.
If someone asks about your job search, tell them the positive. Give them a template of what you expect. “Jereme introduced me to a CEO of a startup that has peaked my interest and we have a telephone interview scheduled.” “Paula introduced me to three of her friends who are directly involved in the wireless space.”
Don’t restrict yourself to business events. The people you want to meet go to a variety of venues to meet and greet; so should you. For more intimate events, log on to Biznik for Seattle (or your town) and find events you would not otherwise attend. Mix it up a bit; you never know who you will meet who can refer you to the right job.