In just a few weeks, everywhere you look will remind you of the good old “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Count downs for shopping, dieting, and even last minute pushes toward the resolutions we made at the beginning of the year will kick-off with revitalized excitement. As such, I am inspired to share a list of twelve “Holiday” productivity tips you may find useful.
‘Tis the season…Enjoy!
1- Start early with your Season’s Greetings. Holiday promotional items are usually ordered in late October/early November and worked into “Corporate Gift” campaigns and employee recognition parties in early December. So if you haven’t already, take a moment now to consider and decide upon promotional marketing tools. This strategy will keep your company in the forefront of your clients’ minds as they plan for their own Holiday activities and projects in the new year. (Don’t forget to send your own seasonal cards and gifts.)
2- Deck the Halls. If you can, take an objective look at your web site. If you cannot (sometimes it’s hard to be fair and objective on self-evaluations–many tend to be overly critical or too lenient when looking at their own work) solicit the assistance of a trusted member of your network. Where can you “spruce” up your web site to include timely information or promotions that remind your web traffic that there IS a person behind the screen? Give your site some life.
3- Wrap your gifts. Represent your company with pride. You may not be the biggest fish in the pond, but your products and services should be the best you have to offer. Be sure to “wrap” the gift of your company in the basics (at least) of professional presentation. Do you carry business cards with you? Are they up to date? Do you have a professional voicemail greeting on your business line? Do you own your domain name? Does your email address clearly reflect your name, your company, or your slogan? Presentation means everything.
4- “Do you see what I see?” Broaden your horizons (and your conversations) by reading local publications (even store flyers and circulars), industry journals, and other “cool” news. Long lines and festive spirits tend to be more prevalent during the holidays. You may find that your insight on the latest Google App, the potential downtown business merger, or the big sale on holiday décor at the boutique store in your neighborhood just might “break the ice” on your next business partnership. (Entrepreneurs stand in line too, you know…)
5- “Mingle sells, Mingle sells, Mingle all the way.” Okay, so it may be a corny play on words, but the idea is a good one. Yes, social media, virtual meetings, and cute emoticons are very helpful as we try to stay in touch with our friends and colleagues; but as the saying goes “there’s nothing like the real thing.” So accept (or send) an invitation or two, get out there, and share a few real “LOLs.” Carry plenty of your updated business cards, refresh your classic black suit with some festive accents and be sure to bring a thoughtful gift for your host. Remember though, unless it’s a “networking function” keep it light and enjoy the event.
6- Give back. Many successful ventures excel with the belief that you can increase your momentum for doing well, by doing “good.” Look around you. Who (person or organization) might benefit from a tithe of your time or talent? Be careful not to be too presumptuous when you consider who may “want” your “help,” but chances are you won’t have to look far. Note: Don’t be overly focused on recognition for your good deeds (pointedly seeking referrals, “free” advertisement, or promises of future partnership). Make a commitment, see the project through, and trust that good things will come back to you.
7- Give in (just a little). The holiday season usually arrives with a natural urge to wind down, relish the good times, and reflect. Chances are your business is built on a dream that integrates your expertise and enthusiasm to share what you know (or can do). The thing is, while we are quickly becoming reliant on technology and the automated processes that streamline our work, there is no substitute for the creative genius that lies within. Take a moment (plan it if you have to) to reconnect and refresh the inspiration that drives your business. New ideas are sure to follow.
8- “Sing a new song.” Elevator speeches are good and should be practiced for clarity and ease in delivery, but if you sound like a trained parrot, your hours of practice may backfire. Loosen up. Make your conversation (and your pitch) relevant. Remember, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Try listening more than you speak.
9- Get it…write. (This is a good one year ‘round) According to several experts, including my favorite – C.J. Hayden, author of Get Clients Now – the most effective marketing tactics include utilizing your written words. Three of Hayden’s top four tactics include “direct contact,” “public speaking,” and “publicity writing.” Each of these centers on your writing. Your direct contact efforts will likely begin with an email. Good public speaking starts with a written speech or talking points. Publicity writing…well, it speaks for itself and you can, too. There is no reason NOT to share your own stories via your blog or even article submissions to local and national media. . Write on…
10- Spread “Holiday” Cheer. Connect a few dots in your web. As you cultivate your network, your referral can hold a value all its own. Scroll through your contact list, check your social media feeds, and listen carefully to the conversations going on around you. You may find that you hold the key to a major breakthrough for other professionals that you’ve developed a rapport with. (Revisit #6)
11- Try winterized Hide-n-Seek. Winter weather delays, cancelled meetings, and that natural hibernation instinct we fight all give way to good opportunities to stay inside (hide) and look into something new. These days, FREE webinars are everywhere. Not that all of them are worthy of your attention, but did I mention they are FREE and you don’t have to leave home to check them out? Another good indoor “seeking” activity is formal online classes. You may have to pay to enroll but the added value a new or updated certification will add as you go into a new year, may be priceless.
Last but not least…
12- Make a list and check it twice. (I couldn’t resist…) We all know the saying if you “fail to plan, you plan to fail.” There is a season for all things, and to me the holiday season represents the best of them all. I encourage you to make the 2010 Holiday season your best yet. Give – of and to – yourself. Re-focus your attention. Set new goals and plan for great things in the year to come.
Best Wishes and Seasons Greetings!