The Holiday season is upon us. It’s a time when humanity is a little friendlier, the food and drinks are forthcoming, and people greet each other with love and hope in their hearts. And whether you consciously consider it or not it’s a time when people network. At any gathering of friends, acquaintances, and business associates some level of networking is grinding the gears. The question is, do you want to be prepared or leave it to chance?

The Top Ten 

Go caroling or at least get out of the House – Don’t be a social pariah. Attend events, go to parties, and enjoy yourself (not too much). Be counted when it counts.

Decorate the place…with guests – Host a gathering. Invite friends to your home. Send out invitations to a holiday social at your place of business or entertain offsite. Salute the holidays with a celebration.

Send greetings – Mail greeting cards, send an email, or deliver a holiday gift to a cherished customer, or vendor.

Don’t eat too many Christmas cookies – Overdoing food and especially drink is the anti-networking demon. Be careful. What to do when Networking moves to the bar

Honor the season of giving – The holidays are a season of giving not taking. If you ask how you may help others, you may be paid back in kind.

Remember it’s a time of sharing – One of the best ways to share is to connect people. Introduce friends and associates that may be able to help each other.

Don’t be a department store Santa– After the age of five or six most children suspect the man whose lap they’re sitting on isn’t Santa. Don’t send out greetings or make overtures as vaguely disguised marketing pieces or job searches.

Make it Christmas every day of the year – Follow up after the holidays. Networking doesn’t end at the event.

Give Thanks – Give thanks for blessings and show gratitude to those who shared the holiday with you. Don’t be lazy. Send a thank you card.

And the number one answer is…drum roll, please…

Ring the Bell – Don’t be overly pushy but know what you want and need before attending an event. You never know who you may meet, or when someone may ask how they could help you. Be prepared.

In the Spirit

You may not think of the holidays as a networking opportunity, but they are. And they will be as long as folks gather together. It doesn’t mean anyone should coldly market themselves or their product at a holiday party. The holidays don’t give you a license to be pushy and obnoxious. It means you should be prepared. Now go drink some punch—but not too much.