Networking Through the Holidays and Beyond

Setting yourself up for success in 2024 with new connections

As the holiday season unfolds, we may think of festive gatherings and the warmth of shared celebrations. We may also think of a season of stress and activity overload, with so much to pack in during such a short time. Contrary to popular belief, networking during the holiday season can be both enjoyable and beneficial, presenting ample opportunities to build connections that can significantly impact your professional development in the coming year. So, let’s remove the stress and dive into the holiday spirit of networking!

Why Network During the Holidays?

During the holiday season, companies and organizations celebrate with several in-person and virtual social events. From office parties to industry gatherings and community events, these occasions offer a relaxed atmosphere for networking, allowing individuals to connect in more personal settings.

Building connections during the holidays can set the stage for productive collaborations and business opportunities in the coming year. Amidst the hustle of festivities and year-end obligations, networking can strengthen connections with friends, family, and colleagues, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared joy. Appreciating these moments of shared connection away from the work itself is essential, even if it means not attending every event.

Effective Networking Strategies for the Holidays:

While attending every holiday event is nearly impossible, selecting those relevant to your practice area or target audience is crucial. Doing so ensures you connect with people interested in your legal services. Consider participating in sponsored charitable events during the holiday season, as volunteering allows you to give back to the community and provides an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded professionals.

Whether mingling at a seasonal soiree, joining a virtual gathering, or volunteering with other professionals, be prepared to introduce yourself and your law practice with a concise and compelling elevator pitch. Share your areas of expertise, how you provide value, and recent successes. After your brief elevator pitch, engage in active listening and ask open-ended questions of your new contact to foster genuine connections. Authenticity is key.

Most importantly, keep those valuable contacts from slipping through the cracks after making initial connections. Send personalized holiday cards or emails promptly after events to express joy in meeting them and your interest in continuing the conversation.

Building Lasting Relationships in the New Year:

Extend the holiday season by sending personalized New Year’s greetings to professional contacts made during the holidays. A thoughtful card or a brief email expressing gratitude can leave a lasting impression. Mention specific details from previous conversations to reinforce the connection and show appreciation. Personal touches go a long way in strengthening professional relationships.

Consider how you can provide value to your connections by sharing industry insights, introducing them to other professionals, or offering legal insights. Once you identify potential opportunities, schedule one-on-one meetings for more in-depth discussions. These meetings provide a focused environment for discussing specific goals and strategies.

It’s important to ensure that your online profiles, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, are up-to-date. A professional online presence is crucial for leaving a positive and lasting impression. Leverage social media to update others on career milestones, share relevant content, and engage in discussions. Social media can be a powerful tool for nurturing and expanding your network.

Attending networking events throughout the year is critical to growing a book of business. Many industry associations and organizations host events regularly. Resolve in the New Year to stay engaged and keep building your network.

Final Thoughts:

Networking through the holidays and following up in the new year are valuable strategies for building and expanding your legal practice, but they don’t have to be exhausting. By being genuine, attending relevant events, and providing value to your connections, you can develop meaningful relationships that lead to business opportunities.

At Fennemore, we encourage our professionals to embrace the holiday spirit of connection and goodwill, channeling it to foster a prosperous new year filled with growth and success. As the holiday season approaches, remember that networking is not just about making contacts; it’s about building lasting relationships that will benefit your practice for years.