Turn Holiday Parties Into Networking Goldmines With These 10 Tips
It is that time of the year again -- the holiday party circuit is about to kick into high gear. There are generally two types of people when it comes to holiday parties. Those that dread getting together and mingling with people they don’t know, and those that prioritize their holiday-party tour based on food selection and how long the open bar is open.
There is more to holiday parties than food comas and hangovers -- they can be networking goldmines! As an entrepreneur, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to network and grow your business. Use these 10 tips to help turn your holiday-party tour into priceless networking that results in new contacts and business opportunities.
1. Go in with a positive attitude
Nobody wants to associate with a party pooper, so smile and have a good time.
2. Arrive with goals in mind
When you attend a networking event you should have a set goal in mind. You might want to establish three connections that can develop into business relationships. Go in with a goal and work the crowd until you meet and exceed that initial goal.
3. Dress the part and participate
Themed holiday parties are very popular. You will stick out like a sore thumb if you don’t participate, and nobody is going to want to hang around the fun police. Toy-drive themed parties are also very popular --The toy pile is a great place to make introductions as soon as you get there, so make sure you bring a cool toy that will not only bring joy to an unfortunate child this holiday season, but also be a great conversation starter.
4. Break away from your crew
You aren’t going to network and meet new people staying in your comfort zone, so break out of your bubble and meet new people. Introduce yourself, shake hands and socialize.
5. Don’t be a human business-card dispenser
Yes, you should be armed with business cards. No, you shouldn’t hand them out like candy to anyone willing to take one. Keep them tucked away until someone requests one.
6. Leverage acquaintances for more effective introductions
If there is a particular individual that you want to be introduced to connect with someone that knows them and get a proper introduction. Any time a mutual acquaintance makes an introduction it is less awkward and the ice is immediately broken.
7. Lead with casual conversation topics instead of your business
Starting a conversation with current events rather than talking about your business is a much smoother introduction. A conversation can quickly erupt if you ask for an opinion regarding a current-events topic.
It forces the other person to answer.
8. The action is always going to be near the food
Where is the one area that everyone is going to naturally gravitate towards multiple times throughout the party? The food area, of course! “How are the bacon-wrapped scallops?” question can start a conversation that begins at the food and picks up later in the evening.
9. Know your alcohol limits
Having a few drinks at holiday parties is fine, but don’t be "that guy" at the party. You want people to remember you because you made a great impression, not for your ability to make a tequila bottle disappear.
10. Say "thank you" when leaving and also send a follow-up email
Holiday-party hosts spend a lot of time and money to put on these events, but the majority of guests arrive only to eat, drink, mingle and then leave without even thanking the host. Use this as an opportunity to stand out and make a new connection. Personally thank the host when it is time for you to leave and then also send them a quick email the following day thanking them. There aren’t many easier ways to get your email signature with full contact information in front of decision-makers.
Founder and CEO, Market Domination Media
DECEMBER 08, 2014
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