For many of us the holidays bring many traditions. This week we celebrated one of my favorite traditions with our graduate business students. We hosted the annual Harvest Festival. For many it was their first traditional American Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and more. We invite students and staff to bring food to share that represents part of their harvest tradition.
While it is a marvelous feast, it is really not about the food! Gathering together to share traditions is a valuable networking opportunity. Take the time to learn about the traditions of others. Talking with students about our Thanksgiving traditions is helpful to them as they adjust to being in the US but learning about their various harvest celebrations is quite fascinating. It is also fun to see them experience turkey for the first time.
As you gather with friends and family over the next few weeks, be sure to maximize your networking time. Be interested and interesting. Be a good listener and you’ll be amazed at what you can learn. Maybe this is the year to talk with aunts and uncles as an adult instead of focusing on the crazy things you did as a kid. Ask more about their work – where do they work? What type of work do they do? What do they like most about their job? Do they have colleagues who work in an area of interest to you and could they possibly make an introduction. In addition to enjoying family time, you may gain valuable insights for your career and your future networking.
If you consider every holiday gathering in the next two months a networking opportunity, you will make some valuable connections and gain insights to support your career.