Oh my goodness! ‘Tis the season to be jolly and to be networking, so get ready to party with a purpose. With all of the holiday parties, the church functions and the visits to see family and friends, the holiday season offers some of the best networking opportunities of the year.

Here are five tips to help you plan appropriately:

Tip 1:

Start the holiday season with a beautiful personalized holiday greeting card. Ask someone at the school where you’re doing your student teaching to snap a photo of you and some of your students. Have the card printed at minimal cost and include a caption that indicates the group in the picture is your school family. Send it to those who you know will have a holiday party and to those you hope will have a holiday party. Now, hope for that invite.

Tip 2:

Accept each and every party invite extended to you by teachers and faculty members of the school you’re doing student teaching. You never know who may be there and end up at the much bowl next to you. Be sure to make your small talk meaningful and positive.

Tip 3:

Be prepared for each event you attend. Call the host in person to accept the invitation and to get an idea of who’s on the invite list. Have a 30-sec and 60-second elevator speech ready. Have you business cards with you.

Tip 4:

Although you are at event to connect and network, talk about something other than yourself and business. This is an informal way to get to know people on a personal level and to relax and socialize. Always dress and behave professionally. First, second and third impressions are all lasting ones. Also, limit alcohol intake – don’t be too relaxed.

Tip 5:

Send the event hostess a thank you email and create an opportunity to ask about guests you met at the party that you have an interest in following up with.

Remember the holidays are a wonderful time of the year to connect with old friends and meet new friends. So, go out and party with a purpose.