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Hone Your Networking Skills During the Holidays

By: Bonnie Coffey


Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of coaching international students working on their MBAs in the practical “how to” skills of F2F (Face-to-Face) networking—a uniquely American thing to do. I’ve learned so much about different cultures and ways of doing business and traditions from other countries. Here in the United States, the end-of-year holidays are times for families to get together, friends to reconnect, and for people to get together. If you’re spending November and December in the U.S., the holidays are the perfect time to practice and hone your F2F networking skills!

While networking skills are critical for internal connections, getting referrals, finding a job, seeking clients, solidifying relationships with existing clients, and increasing spheres of influence, the holidays provide the opportunity to be comfortable and simply…connect.
These are your opportunities to take a deep breath, accept a beverage from your host/hostess, nibble on some amazing hors d’oeuvres, and just learn more about the other people at the party. The Contacts Count principles of “Be Seriously Curious” and “Listen Generously” will provide excellent foundations as you mingle, make new connections and catch up with those you may not see quite so often.
Here are some questions you can use to get into the holiday spirit of casual conversation:
  • What have you been working on lately? (This is one of my favorites—it allows your conversational partner to pick the topic that they’re interested in!)
  • What’s your favorite part of the holidays?
  • What’s the best present anyone ever gave you?
  • Where will you be spending the holidays?
  • Who organizes the holidays in your family?
  • Tell me your favorite holiday tradition.
But, most importantly, relax, enjoy the conversation, celebrate in your own traditions, and have a warm and wonderful time.
Published: December 18, 2013

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Bonnie Coffey

Bonnie Coffey is a business and community leader and, as a Certified Trainer and Associate with Contacts Count, LLC, she teaches the skills and strategies of face-to-face (F2F) networking for professional and personal success. Her far-reaching career has impacted business, political, financial, and leadership organizations throughout the country. Her client list includes AARP® Foundation, Heinz Family Philanthropies, U.S. Department of Labor–Women’s Bureau, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, American Chemical Society, Decorating Den, American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), McCombs School of Business/University of Texas at Austin, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Union Pacific. She’s been featured in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Creative Training Techniques, Women in Business and has been a columnist with the Lincoln Journal Star since 2001.  Her book, “Dreams for Our Daughters,” embodies her belief in the future of our next generation of women leaders.

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