End of Year Networking: A busy but important time!

by | Nov 13, 2022 | Business conversations, Networking

Navigating the festive networking season to make the most of it, without feeling exhausted

This is the time of year when opportunities to network abound, and the choices are increasingly festive and bright… and yet, it is also the time of year when we feel rushed, overwhelmingly busy, and starting to tire out.

Our good intentions to show up for end-of-year networking can end up looking like a half-hearted attempt: we stay in the corner enjoying drinks with the people we see every day, or we show up frazzled and exhausted, with nothing much to say… or we don’t show up at all.

There is something to be said for being selective with events and focusing on other things that matter – finishing off projects, wrapping things up effectively with staff and clients, and looking after our health! I always have good intentions to make the most of the festive networking season, but in the end, I often find I’ve overcommitted, and have to bow out of one or two events in my diary, to stay back in the office, or to get some sleep!

At the same time, the festive season is such a natural time to connect with your networks: you can check in with those you haven’t caught up with in a while, to see how their year has been; you can ask new acquaintances about their holiday plans; you can wish those VIPs in your network a happy holiday! We all remember the human element during the festive season – we are relaxed, if a little tired, and we are ready to breathe out and have fun. This makes for easily-flowing conversation!

“I am currently enjoying delivering an ideal client project that started with a chance meeting at a Christmas event last year.”

We also know that just about everyone joins in the gatherings and celebrations at this time of year, so the chances of meeting those influential people who normally don’t have time to attend events increases. I am currently enjoying delivering an ideal client project that started with a chance meeting at a Christmas event last year.

Here are three things I am focusing on this festive season, to make the most of it while still maintaining my health and sanity!

  1. Create my own meaningful opportunities to network. I have collaborated with others to create some simple but meaningful connection points before the end of the year:
  • I’m co-hosting a long-table, invitation-only lunch for a group of women in business and professional industries that I admire and value having in my network.
  • I’ve scheduled my annual end-of-year lunches or dinners with a few close friends, when we reflect on our year and our goals for the next.
  • I’m calling or emailing clients located in other cities to check in on their progress and to wish them a happy festive season. While I am catching up with a couple of clients face-to-face during a family visit on the east coast, I’m keeping this limited during this busy time of year.
  1. Selecting events more slowly. There are so many invitations at this time of year for us all, and I have to remind myself not to go on a guilt-trip for not attending everything – that I can say no even when my calendar says I’m free. Chances are, I’m not really free, because I’ll be finishing something off I didn’t schedule enough time for, or something unexpected will come up… or I’ll just need a rest for an evening! The events I am prioritising, where possible, are the ones run by clients I’ve worked with this year.
  1. Booking less coffees, for now. After some time off recently to support a family member, I am playing catch up while juggling the usually busy work demands of November and December. I have a long list of coffee meetings I am supposed to reschedule or book in, and I’m keen to do them, but I am letting go of the expectation that I’ll get to them all this year.

As you can see above, my approach to navigating the festive networking season is not to avoid it, nor is it (any longer) to go hard and really push myself, arriving at holiday time exhausted! I am trying to be a little more realistic, to focus on what really matters and what I’d really like to do, and to try to show up fresh and to bring value to the conversations I do choose to have before the end of the year.

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