Increase Professional Connection During the Holidays

A Happy Thanksgiving for US-readers if you celebrated this weekend. We are at the beginning of a holiday season. The holidays are not, contrary to common belief, a career development wasteland. In fact, December & January can be a powerful time.

One of the types of career development actions we can take in December and January is to meaningfully connect with the people that matter in our professional life.

How

Consider how you can leverage these three types of connection opportunity:

  • Existing Commitments: If you are committed to an office party, to lunch with a key customer or supplier, or a networking event, give an extra 20% to make it not a chore, but rather a meaningful engagement. Be present, be thoughtful, be grateful. Appreciate them. They will notice.
  • Booking a face to face or call: For key relationships, you may want to reach out and see whether you can book some time together. Even if schedules don’t permit now, it is the thought that counts. A New Year kick-off meeting could work very well.
  • Virtual Reach-Out: And of course, there’s nothing wrong with a holiday card, an email or a quick message that you’re thinking about them.

Who

Give some thought to who matters to you. This past year. And for the coming year.

Build ties within your organization: The holidays are a natural time to solidify ties within your place of work. Let’s face it. The bonds between colleagues can get stretched. Difficult decisions. Deadlines to meet. Hectic schedules with no time to kick-back and have non-business conversations with your colleagues.

  • Your Boss: An important relationship and a major opportunity to hopefully deepen an existing positive relationship, or perhaps, establish a personal connection with a boss that you haven’t managed to get to know yet.
  • Your team: Both with peers and those who report to you, this is a good time to celebrate accomplishments, bond over the hard work you have collectively put in, and have a few laughs. It is a simple thing, really, but it can do wonders.
  • Friends, Fans, Mentors & Allies: It is important to have relationships outside of your immediate colleagues. This is a good time to revisit, catch-up, share plans for the coming year. Or express gratitude for mentorship, referrals, etc.
  • People you want to know better: Perhaps you have made a connection with someone and have not yet taken the step of booking time with this person. A well-placed offer for breakfast or lunch might be just the thing to take this relationship to the next step.

Deepen / Appreciate Existing External Relationships: Your work might exist with key external relationships….customers, suppliers, partners, consultants, and other people in the industry and community who it is important to know. The same principle applies. Appreciation for working together during the past year. An expression of interest and anticipation for the coming year. Classy.

I think we are primed to receive good wishes during the holidays. Personally, I notice who took the time during this busy season to make a human connection. Let’s give as well as receive.