by Laura Gibbons
For many of us, the holiday season is filled with both joy and dread. In addition to the often-uncomfortable family gatherings, the holiday season can be filled with awkward office holiday parties or events. While these work-related events can be a quick way to embarrass yourself by over-drinking and causing a scene, they also offer an opportunity to flex your networking skills, make new friends, and get ahead in your career. Don’t let the pressure of the holidays damage your career. Follow our 6 effective holiday networking tips to maximize every networking opportunity this season.
1 – Practice Introducing Yourself. It can be difficult to provide a clear and concise description of who you are and what you do every time that you are introduced to someone new. Prior to attending each event, write down a brief introduction of yourself. Practice saying this introduction over and over again until it feels natural. A great introduction will start the conversation off on a positive note.
2 – Ask Questions. When you are meeting someone new, don’t spend too much time talking about yourself. Instead, focus on the other person by asking them simple questions to get the conversation started and find common interests to keep the conversation going. Don’t force the conversation. You may want to write down a few starter questions before the party to help get you started. Try to keep the conversation natural though. You don’t want to appear as though you are reading through a list of prepared questions.
3 – Pay Attention to What Others Are Saying. In stressful social situations, people often spend so much energy trying to craft the perfect response that they are not fully listening to and participating in the conversation. Stay in the moment and keep your focus on the other person.
4 – Hand Out Business Cards. Ask each new acquaintance for their business card and hand them one of yours as well. Obtaining contact information is essential for growing your network and furthering your career. You can also quickly jot down some notes about the person on the back of the card for easy reference the next time you want to reach out to them. You should note where and when you met them as well as some highlights from the conversation.
5 – Don’t be clingy. Don’t turn positive social interactions into negative ones by clinging on to everyone that you meet. Most people will want the freedom to interact with many different people at these events and may become annoyed if you permanently attach yourself to them. Meet and interact with a lot of different people at the party.
6 – Act and Dress Appropriately – We have all heard the stories about that co-worker that had a few too many dirty martinis at the holiday party and ended up vomiting on the dance floor. People are more likely to remember your drunken behavior or inappropriate outfit than the great job you did on Monday’s presentation. If you want to successfully grow your professional network, you need to dress and act appropriately.
Don’t let holiday parties and events stress you out. Turn these awkward social encounters into great networking opportunities by following our 6 Holiday networking tips this season. Do you have helpful holiday networking tips? Please leave your comments below.
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About the Author:
Laura Gibbons is the founder of 9to5SurvivalGuide.com. Laura has survived 12+ years in the corporate retail environment. She has dealt with difficult co-workers, impossible bosses, and stressful work environments. She now shares her insights and expertise on career advancement and 9 to 5 survival through her website.