I just returned from my third – yes, third – holiday party so far this month. Say “yes” to holiday parties and events and stay positive. While the holidays are a great time of the year to get out and see people, they also present a perfect opportunity to reconnect professionally with those you only interact with a few times per year.
The best part is that most of these tips can be utilized throughout the course of the year. Of course, you must always start with being prepared and having a plan for networking.
Click here for a video of my tips for making the best use of your holiday networking time.
Be prepared for each event you attend:
- Know who is going to be attending
- Have a goal
- Have an understanding of what you want to achieve – whether it be meeting new people and/or strengthening existing relationships
- Know the event’s setting – restaurant, catering hall, etc.
- Remember to take into account traffic and parking
Prepare your questions so they are designed to ask engaging questions about a person’s experiences over the past 12 months and their plans for the New Year. Among questions to ask:
- How was your year?
- What was your greatest success?
- Who are you looking to meet?
Remember to listen and then be helpful in assisting them in achieving their goals:
- If you ask questions listen to the answers
- Think about solutions….be it your solution or how you can help them achieve their objectives
- Recap the year
- Ask people questions
- Be proactive in exploring ways in which you can help them in2016
- Determine what your and their personal goals are for next year
- Practice your elevator speech and be prepared to meet lots of new people
Look to connect with key leaders and decision makers as this may be your only chance in linking up with them the entire year:
- Don’t be afraid to approach key leaders and decision makers
- Wait your turn
- Don’t be too pushy
Be a connector and ask to be connected:
- If it is your party or you know people in attendance, make the intros – especially if people don’t know anyone
- Ask to be connected and if there is anyone here that you think I should meet
- People appreciate thought and effort: Send out those holiday greetings and follow up/thank you cards:
- Utilize personal email: if you’re not a big fan of the ecard, try sending a short personal video instead
- Call people if you can’t see them in person
As always, remember to thank your clients, referral sources and others who have helped you personally as well as professionally.
By Bill Corbett