Holidays tend to involve extensive opportunities for networking via a plethora of parties and get-togethers. Taking advantage of this prime mingling time of the year may just result in a slew of opportunities that would have otherwise flown under the radar. Approaching these circumstances with strategy and conviction instead of haphazard conversation is the perfect way to open valuable new doors. Here are some tips to break the ice and bring new opportunities to the table through networking during the holidays.

Develop Personal Connections

Most people love to talk about the things they truly love. Instead of re-inventing the same conversation multiple times, ask new acquaintances about the things that truly excite them. Networking opportunities often get boring because people ask the same questions throughout the event. Interactions can become much more memorable and meaningful when people discuss heartfelt topics. Such discussion will break up the monotony and leave a lasting impression.

To expand on this personal connection, consider following up with a kind gesture. Throughout the conversation, one can gain insight into his new connection’s favorite items, subjects, or inspirations. While not completely necessary, following up with a memento, gift certificate, or book may be appropriate and will leave a positive impression of genuine interest and goodwill.

Be Straightforward

While it may seem a bit brash, getting to the point is much more effective than hoping a new acquaintance connects a skill set with an opportunity. Simply asking about potential opportunities may open new doors, but these doors are much less recognizable unless they are specifically brought up in conversation. Detailing skills that may be beneficial in specific instances may also pave the way to new opportunities. Being direct with new connections will help illuminate the nature of the relationship and provide insight into whether the relationship is truly worth pursuing.

Use LinkedIn

Networking sites like LinkedIn are wonderful tools for legal networking and can function to connect individuals in real time. While networking with new people, search for connections on the site that may benefit from an introduction. Performing this small action in the moment will ensure that a follow-up is made rather than forgotten, helping to eliminate the “remember to contact” list. It may also be beneficial to email new connections on the spot. Doing so will ensure that you exchange contact information and new acquaintances end up in the inbox instead of on a notepad somewhere.

While networking is often perceived as an arduous task, it doesn’t have to be. Integrity, genuine thoughtfulness, and acting straightforwardly in the moment are the keys to success in this fast-paced art. With a simple strategic exchange and a guaranteed follow-up, new opportunities may be just a conversation away.