Holiday Networking Survival Guide

It’s early December as I write this…between now and December 24th, you’ll have at least ONE party/event/gathering. It is, after all, holiday season! Some events may be personal (e.g. family/friends hosting a party) while others may be professional (e.g. firm parties, company events, year-end club holiday socials).

These are all ‘networking’ events. While I hate that term ‘networking’, remember that you have to ‘on’ – on point, on message and ‘present’.

Here are a few points to help you survive the hectic holiday season:

Professional Events (galas, company parties, client invites)

  1. Have a purpose set out

Depending on your role and goals, begin with the end in mind. Are you seeking a new role, either in a new industry, new company or new region? You want to be mindful of what your goals are as this will tune you to potential opportunities or people who can help you down the road.

2. Always be professional

Needless to say, take it easy on the hors d’oeuvres and open bar! My Socially Upward readers may not need this reminder but time and again, I’ve seen it happen: the person who drinks too much booze and makes a jackass out of himself. Even worse if that person approaches you and makes your look bad.

3Be Human

People you meet (be it co-workers, clients, referrals, etc.) are human. Meaning they have families, holiday stresses and possibly year-end pressures. So remember that. You can keep the shop talk to a 50/50 (or a ratio favouring the personal side ) and aim to talk real-life non-work topics.

Example: Any plans for the holidays? Are you visiting/travelling to meet your family?

4. Keep up the energy

As a Socially Upward reader, you probably have more than ONE event to attend (yay!). Hitting events can be tiring. Even more tiring if it so happens that events are on the same night and you’re event-hopping. (Kudos!) When people see you for the first time of the night, be upbeat, keep up the energy as you want to attract new leads, contacts and opportunities at this time of the year!

5. Be positive

At this time of the year, people you meet may not be on their best behaviour (e.g. stressed from work for year-end deadlines, personal stresses with family commitments). So don’t take it personally and just be positive and be happy you are at these cool events. You’re socially upward!

Personal Events (Family gatherings, Meetup with Friends)

Although personal events can be informal, remember that it is not only a time to re-connect with friends or casual connections. It’s an opportunity to plant the referral seeds.

  1. Focus on them

Let’s be delicate here – your personal contacts aren’t expecting to be “sold to” but it’s still OK to talk about work. After all, we spend at least half our lives commuting and earning a paycheque. As a socially upward, you can learn from your successful friends (both their successes and failures). So be sure to hear them out and lend a kind ear.

2. Avoid sound like a calculated robot

So I do encourage you to have a little bit of ‘shop talk’ when you have your personal events. But just a little. You want to inject the seeds about what you’re up to without boring the hell out of your personal contacts with too much work-work-work talk.

3. Resolutions for the new year

People may have resolutions. Invariably, they’ll range from getting a new job, losing weight, getting fitter, finding the ‘One’, or landing new clients. As a socially upward, and reader of, you may be able to help out your contacts with their resolutions.

Getting out There

80% of success is simply showing up. But to hit the full 100%, you also have to be present. This holiday season, you will have both personal and professional parties/events/meetups. Take these as an opportunity to further your socially upward ambitions using the pointers laid out in this post.

Happy schmoozing!

Johnny Elle

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