Gifts

December is upon us.

Here is the States we’ve concluded the carbo-splurge known as Thanksgiving (yours truly eats sparingly: its not my thing) and we’ve gotten through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The retailers have taken their best shot. Its now onto the 31 days of the merriest month of the year.

But why limit our gift giving to the end of year cycle and the odd birthday? And what about all those colleagues, peers and contacts buried in our address books and LinkedIn? Is there a way to show the proper appreciation to these (and not break the bank in the process?)

I think so.

If you’re like me the professional contacts in your life come and go, emerge and fade throughout the 12 months of the year: how do we stay better connected? Let me offer three ideas:

  • Referrals
  • Reviews
  • Refreshments

Referrals

People constantly ask me about job leads: one of the perks of having a lot of contacts is you hear from people a lot. But how often do we hear from someone looking for a new role, promise to forward opportunities and then sit on the info? This is not helpful.

Try this: the next time someone pings you about a role, put together a brief shout out and send it to your social media platforms. A tweet, note on LinkedIn or a blurb on your own web site. Don’t just promise to forward opportunities that fall in your lap – do something about it! Broadcast your contact’s interests and availability because that’s what networks are for, and that’s what helpful peers do. Give a shout-out: the job you fill might one day be your own.

Reviews

Do you read a lot? Of course you do. But how often do you tap the keyboard to send some ideas, offer a critique or share ideas with a writer? I thought so. Let me tell you something – writers love contact. Whether its the handfuls of blogs you still peruse, the online content you check every day or a report sent to your inbox from a colleague around the corner or across the world you see content daily. Offer some perspective, share some thoughts and even provide critique. Will the writer always agree with your input? No. Will you build more professional bridges? Yes. This is a good thing kids.

Refreshments

Ah, the days of meeting people face to face are long gone… Or are they?

What if you committed to seeing someone from your network once a month? Just once! Breakfast, lunch (that thing we used to do in the middle of the day…) or a drink after work alcoholic or non. What if you managed your schedule to say hello to just one person face to face every month simply for the purpose of connection and contact? You would feel better. They would feel better. You would both probably learn something. And escaping the office for just a bit might actually be pretty nice, wouldn’t it?!

The gifts of being a professional are many and varied, but how often do we realize our own time and presence are gifts as well? A few words online, a discussion with a colleague or drinks with a peer are all ways we can offer our gifts to others and not just during the holidays but throughout the year.

You’ve got a lot of gifts my friend: share them with your professional network and watch them multiply in return.

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