Whether or not your work has slowed down for the holiday season, we all know the party and networking opportunities are all closing in on you! The season provides some of the best chances to meet, greet, and generate leads that you'll see all year. To make the most of the celebrations, here are 10 Tips For Surviving Holiday Networking Events.
- Accept Invitations When You Can With a busy holiday calendar, you may be inclined to turn down a few opportunities. While you want to maintain some balance, take advantage of the gatherings as a way to make friends and follow up with your existing connections.
- Play Host Create positive associations with your colleagues by hosting your own party. Others will see you as an influencer and point of contact in their own networking and business journey. Of course, when you take on the role of host, you have an opportunity and responsibility of connecting others. For each person you invite, consider who you can invite as a party counterpart for your guest.
- Don't Forget The Greeting Cards There are so many online services for creating your own greeting cards. These services are so easy to navigate (Shutterfly, VistaPrint, and Pear Tree are just a few) that there's no excuse not to recognize your clients and colleagues with a quick note. Don't miss out on your peripheral contacts. Go through your business card file and get those cards in the mail!
- Be Prepared Holiday parties seem more relaxed than other networking events, but it's still important to bring along business cards and a schedule, if you use something other than your phone. You want to be ready to schedule follow up meetings in the new year!
- Know What To Talk About Obviously, politics is off the table! But have open-ended questions prepared to keep the conversation flowing. "Tell me about your holiday plans..." and "What are your New Years' Resolutions?" will carry you much farther than "Are you ready for Christmas?" And always remember that putting the focus on others is a great way to earn favor in the eyes of your colleagues.
- Send A Thank You Note and "Share" The Love Always, always, always follow up with a thank you to the host or hostess to let them know you had a wonderful time. If the event isn't a private one, post pictures to social media and tag your host and colleagues. This is a great way to help grow their network and paint you in a positive light.
- Don't Overdo It Relax and enjoy yourself, but know what your limits are when drinking is involved. Remember that these parties are still professional events. You can still be the life of the party without sacrificing any important relationships!