I know it’s November, and it seems a little early to be talking about holiday parties, but I suspect that within two days of reading this, you will see festive decorations on display at your local stores. If retail can rush into the season, then damn it, I can too! To that end, I have come up with a quick list of tips pertaining to networking and partying during the holiday season.
10. Try hosting your own network gathering. Invite your connections to your office, house, or favorite hangout and introduce them to one another. It’s a great way to help many people at once.
9. Get familiar with other holiday greetings. If you’re used to saying “Merry Christmas,” keep on saying it, but don’t hesitate to add salutations for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa – and the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which takes place on December 3.
8. Set up weekly lunches between now and the holidays. This is a great way to bring your network closer together. Look for synergies between those you invite and let them flourish at the table in front of you.
7. Instead of sending clients cards and gifts, send them referrals! It’ll benefit them more in the long run.
6. Get attendee lists in advance. You will be able to make the most of your networking time by having this information. Hopefully, that will also add to your cheer.
5. Use your holiday networking time to help get a jump-start on your new year. You can begin filling up your January calendar with folks you are meeting now.
4. Don’t be that person at the party… you know, the one who is either throwing their card in everyone’s face or falls down because they drank too much.
3. Know what your follow-up plan looks like before you need it. If you can quickly identify your target clients and business partners, you will immediately know who you should reconvene with later on.
2. Enhance your network by introducing those you know well to people they need to meet. Ask questions. Listen. Understand how you can help and make the appropriate connections. Both parties will appreciate it.
1.5. Ask the host, “Who are the three people here that I must meet?” They know everyone, so they’ll be in the right space to play matchmaker.
And the real #1… don’t network in the punch bowl! It’s just bad form. In other words, don’t spend all your time talking business at the expense of enjoying the get-together. Have a good time!