Gotta let you know, my heart is at home during the holidays and networking events, which do not center around my family, pale in my list of interests. However, I become aware while drinking my cup of hot chocolate and feeling cuddly after hanging the garland of old Christmas cards that ’tis the season to be searching–for relationships that may lead to a new career or new clients. Allow me to pass on a few ideas that seem to pop up in the advice I have been hearing and reading about surviving the networking fa-la-la-la-la.
Be visible during the holidays
Schedule holiday parties wisely, but never cross them off the list simply because someone there might ask that dreaded employment status question. It seems that the closer the party-goers are in blood relationship the more unfeeling and embarrassing the questions will be. In a darkly humorous way, it is a good place to introduce or perfect the elevator speech and the “introduction” (how you introduce yourself to potential contacts).
Holiday events are often crowded, noisy places encouraging excess in eating and drinking. For the introverted souls like yours truly, I have found that taking a few visits to the restroom or outside in the dark, winter air provides a “cool down” spot when needed. I also have found that taking the smallest amount of food possible and limiting alcoholic drinks works to keep the head clear. Few negative experiences beat being barraged with stories by an inebriated social bully who insists on talking with a mouthful of crackers with ranch dip.
I keep uppermost in mind that holiday season networking events are parties in name only. Beneath the glam and glitter they are a species of business meeting. Basic rules for business meetings apply. The company holiday celebration (if applicable or if an invited guest) is in spirit a social event–a party–but it is also a prime opportunity to network when done correctly and good networking behavior applies.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Among the things in the purse I take to a holiday party at a corporation or a holiday networking event there will be a couple of working pens, a pad, and networking/business cards.
Through careful, active listening and taking notes during bathroom breaks, much valuable information can be gained and many valuable relationships can be made.
The haul at the end of a holiday networking party could pay off big-time in the spring.
- Christmas Countdown Week One:The list (victoree.wordpress.com)
- Networking with LinkedIn….Now even better with their all new LinkedIn Events (paulmbacon.me)