For most of us the holidays are filled with celebrations, fun, and… stress. Whether it’s getting just the right gift for someone or cleaning for a holiday party, there are a lot of things going on. One thing that doesn’t need to stress you out: trying to decide the right way to share your holiday wishes with your networking partners!
It’s a Big, Hyper-Connected World
It might seem like a small thing, but in the 21st century, our networks are wide-spread and very diverse. In fact, the most successful networks are heterogeneous (which is a fancy way of saying that there’s a lot of different types of people in them). So it does make sense to be aware and respectful of the different faiths and traditions of the people that you are connected to.
When you are searching for the right words to use when wishing a networking partner a happy holiday season, the simpler the better. If you know without a doubt that someone practices a certain faith (for example, they are wearing a cross or a kippah), then there is nothing wrong with wishing them a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”. But if you aren’t sure, or want to be safe, the best thing to say is simply “Happy Holidays”.
Even though you might practice a different tradition then they do, the goal here is focus on the intention: spreading goodwill. No matter your networking partners faith background, they probably have some sort of holiday celebration. At the very least, the New Years holiday is a wonderful tradition that we all share. In the end, the goal is to spread the positive energy of the holiday season, and not to focus on the differences between us.
And what if someone shares holiday wishes from a tradition that isn’t yours?
Focus on Goodwill
Is that really a big deal? Of course not. You could correct them and make them feel foolish, but all they wanted to do was share their holiday cheer. Accept the gift in the spirit it was given and say thank you. If you want to, you can even send those holiday wishes right back. For example, what if someone wishes you Merry Christmas and you aren’t Christian? That happens to me all of the time, because while I was raised Christian I now follow a Buddhist path. When someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I smile and and say “Merry Christmas” right back. For me, and for most people I know, the intent is the most important part of the holiday season.
Successful networking is all about bridge-building. We want to create connections between us and the people we know. Half the fun (and value) of networking comes from meeting and building relationships with people that are different than us. So this holiday season, share the positivity no matter what your faith tradition!
This article was also published on Business2Community. You can find it here!