‘Tis the Season for Mistletoes, Menorahs and Holiday Parties!

December 21, 2009

It’s time to say a personal “thanks” to those who helped you in 2009 and take the opportunity to make some new connections to set the stage for the year ahead.  Whether your office holiday party, a friend’s open house, or a trade association membership meeting – you need to keep networking.

Remember, every time you meet someone new – you have the opportunity to network.  Networking is a lifelong endeavor as you continue to forge new relationships and cultivate those connections you have made over time.  Networking is never about an immediate need or desire, but more so to help others and better prepare yourself for success in the years ahead.

Our tips for an effective season of networking:

1. RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF!! – First and foremost, this time is stressful enough, so remove your game face, your zealous handshake and put your sales pitch on vacation – just immerse yourself in having some fun and camaraderie. Really get to know the people you meet; it’s time to share some stories or even a few jokes. People are happy this time of year so enjoy their company and if you have to… commiserate on the pathetic performance of your favorite football team.

2. Say “Thanks.” – For those in your network who referred you a potential client, introduced you to a new contact or helped you in any fashion, send them an email, a handwritten note or holiday card – telling them how much you appreciate their support and look forward to the coming year. Demonstrate that you truly value their contribution to your success and their role in your network. Reinforce that you will and want to help them in any way you can.  Everyone loves to feel appreciated!

3. Attend holiday mixers and parties – Take advantage of the season and attend those parties you want as well as those where you feel obligated.  Each offers a unique opportunity to meet new people and begin to establish some new contacts to pursue in the year ahead. If you are party hopping, first and foremost – be safe and responsible!  WE want to see you networking next year as well!! Attend for an hour – mingle and catch up with some familiar faces then make a point to talk to two new people at each party.  Before your exit, make sure to thank the host/hostess and congratulate them on a wonderful event.

4. Play the gracious host – Whether you are tied directly to an event or not, always strive to maintain the demeanor of a host.  Greet people as they enter, offer to get refreshments or food for others.  Make a special effort to talk to those who appear more introverted and casually invite them into your conversation or connect them with others. You will be remembered for your kindness and playing the host sends a clear message of your confidence.

5. Connect people – Scroll through your rolodex and identify which of your contacts would benefit from meeting one another.  Invite them to join you at mixers or holiday parties and make the introductions.  Your contacts will certainly be happy they met some new people and you will benefit from being the point of connection.  Your efforts here demonstrate your desire to help them succeed and that you are thinking about them.

6. Personal Invitations – Make a special effort to personally call or email some of your contacts and invite them as your guest to a holiday mixer or suggest you will meet them there as an opportunity to catch up.  Often people are more likely to attend such social functions if they know that others whom they know will be there. They will remember the fact you personally invited them.  For those whom are more introverted, ask someone to go with you and share a car then you can arrive together and more comfortably immerse yourself in the festivities.

7. Pace Thyself – There are more holiday gatherings that one can imagine, so if you are fortunate to be invited to many such events, make sure to pace yourself and not overindulge. Certainly your focus should be enjoying yourself, but make sure to know your limits on alcohol and make an effort to drink a glass of water and try those tasty hors d’oeuvres.  After all you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons!! Nor be the one they talk about as the “incident” from the last holiday party!

8. Maintain a positive outlook – No matter what is going on in your professional or personal worlds, smile and be positive!!  Express your excitement for the coming year.  No one likes a party pooper or negativity during this time of year. SCROOGES STAY AT HOME!!

9. Get to know thy office mates – Often in larger companies people barely know those working next to them or even on a different floor.  If your firm has an office party – make an effort to meet and begin to build a rapport with others in your company. These folks can be one of your most powerful allies and referral sources if they just know what you do and create a face rather than merely the “Sales” department.

10. Mistletoe Manners! – The ultimate holiday dilemma!  What is appropriate? Nearly every party has someone running amuck with mistletoe or strategic placed this amorous item in concealed locations. Either way; appearing at an inopportune moment. Our recommendation: A hug is a man’s best friend! Dare you be more risqué – a quick peck on the cheek.  Beyond that – you have transitioned from networking to romance and you should ask Dr. Phil for his advice.


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