Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Networking

The holidays may be the last place someone thinks of when thinking of networking. Either because you want to go spend time with family and NOT think about work at all or because you dread your family so that you want to keep conversation as minimal as possible.

I understand, believe me. It may not seem so to some, but I am a huge fan of putting work aside and enjoying family and friends without thinking about the insanity of running a public relations firm in Vermont. But this Thanksgiving taught me an important lesson about networking...

Sadly for my family, my grandfather passed away the day before everyone gobbles up turkeys. A leader in quality control and an innovator in computers, he lived a very complete life and was able to say goodbye to his children which is always a blessing. So last week there were more family members than usual in the vicinity of my mother's feast and all came out to my parent's home in the Berkshires for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps as a need to keep conversation light and because as I get older, I enjoy family company more and more, I babbled away about funny stories that stem from my work. Stories that are not about what I do and who my clients are, blah, blah, blah, but rather little tales that come out of the eclectic and varied work and situations I get myself into. This of course resulted in laughter and the usual tales that people share after an amusing story sparks their memory. Many, to the delight of all, also led into fun memories of my grandfather. This is to be expected, especially if the family is as colorful and talkative as mine.

But then something happened which I did not expect - these stories also sparked discussions of my uncle's golf partner who owns a business in Vermont related to one of my clients and my grandmother's travel friend who manages an organization that collaborates with a potential client. I think you see where I am going. You never know....

I certainly wasn't being the annoying niece yapping away about how awesome my business is and prodding for networking contacts. But I also wasn't being the tired business owner trying to steer all conversation away from my work (which I sometimes do). I was instead being a funny daughter sharing my experiences and listening and learning from others, and gaining a few new contacts along the way.

And this, my loyal readers, is something you should all think about doing over the Christmas holidays! Rachel Carter PR approved!


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