5 tips to make the most of holiday cards for networking
A personal touch at Christmas can be good for business
Hand-written cards are a rarity these days, but holiday cards are the perfect way to stay relevant in your network, while also standing out from the crowd.
Sending seasonal greetings to your network contacts is a perfect opportunity to strengthen and cultivate relationships. This allows you to add a more personal dimension to your professional dealings. But there are some key dos and don’t for making the sending of holiday cards for networking purposes successful. Some sandtraps can await you.
The sending of cards by post during the holiday season is a declining practise with internet and online cards giving some of the traditional manufacturers stiff competition. Postal services can be slower than they used to be with delivery more unreliable. People are perhaps more sensitive to diverse cultures that celebrate other holidays. The US has traditionally been more aware of that, referencing the whole period as "the holidays.” In Europe we are more focused on Christmas and the New Year either together or separately .
Sending a greetings card is a good way of standing out from the crowd today, simply because fewer people are doing it. It can be a good way of networking and a key differentiator. It also shifts the nature of your relationship from neutral business to make it more personal. It’s a gracious gesture and can serve you well.
5 tips to make the most of holiday cards for networking
#1 UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS BOOK
This is a good moment to update your data base, black book or Rolodex. It doesn’t matter if you are high or low tech. The most important thing is not to miss out a key contact. Decide who you want to send a card to.
#2 CHOOSE YOUR CARD WISELY
Select a neutral, good quality and tasteful card with a universally appropriate message, unless you know the specific religious or cultural affiliation of the recipient. Non-denominational messages related to good health, peace, happiness and best wishes for the upcoming year will all be well received. Some organizations publish on their calendars other holidays such as Hannukkah and Diwali. A quick Google search should do the trick.
#3 HAND WRITE YOUR CARD
Avoid having your signature pre-printed. You can include a business card with your LinkedIn url included on it so that the recipient will have your contact details if they wish to reach out to you or respond. Business cards sometimes don’t carry a street address. You can buy a sender label or write your own address on the envelope.
#4 PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGE
If you want to acknowledge a special relationship or support, this is a good time to add a short and gracious thank you. Do not mention any business in the pipeline whether it’s a job application or a commercial deal. That changes the tone of the message and can be perceived as being pushy and tacky.
If you are not fully acquainted with the person the best advice is to leave off any personal details. We never know what is going on for other people. Many find the holiday season lonely and depressing.
Some even say don’t print labels. I would have no problem with this. At least it guarantees that the card will reach its destination unless you have impeccable handwriting.
#5 USE SNAIL MAIL
It is so rare today to get a hand written personal card that they now stand out. If you mail your card in good time, it will be perhaps added to a wall of cards or be displayed on someone’s desk. Some cultures send New Year cards and those will be appreciated well into January.
Using holiday cards for networking is a low-cost and personal way of letting your contacts know they have been in your thoughts. That always counts.
Contact 3Plus for corporate networking training or coaching for your organisation.
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