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The holidays are perfect for relationship building and networking. With some effort, you can take your networking skills to the next level regardless of where you are on the networking continuum. The key is practice. Ask any great athlete or any expert for that matter, and you will find that a lot of work went into making their skill look easy.

As you approach the holidays, think about how you can have fun while advancing your business goals. For Inspiration Zone alumni, review your grand vision and your Strategic Networking Action Plan. Where are your gaps? What aspects do you need to practice? If you’re not sure, focus on “your story” – It is what makes you special and it is what differentiates you. For example, consider adapting your story for the various parties that you plan to attend this season. You may have a few versions that resonate differently with different audiences. Perhaps you have one for your company party and another for your place of worship.

Regardless of the venue, practice “your story” out loud and roleplay with someone who can critique you and provide constructive feedback. By doing this you will be able to focus on the other person and integrate your message in a way that sounds natural.

Every day there are opportunities to network and to practice your networking skills. The holidays present many forums for practice. Use this season to hone your networking skills while celebrating the season. To learn more, read “The Guide to Strategic Networking.”

Juliette Mayers is author of The Guide to Strategic Networking, founder and CEO of Inspiration Zone LLC. Follow @juliettemayers and check out www.juliettemayers.com

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