Holiday Celebrations: Make It a Successful Event – Part 2
As this is the time of year for holiday celebrations, we are focused on ensuring you have a great holiday season with tips on how to get the most out of the professional events that you must attend. Think of this as a time for creating new contacts, getting in front of key executives, and extending your new relationships into the future. Have fun while strengthening your network:
Make new relationships.
- It is comfortable for most people to gravitate to the group of people they know instead of branching out to talk to a stranger. Holiday celebrations are great for working on growing your network. They present the opportunity to meet new people and establish new relationships in a relaxed environment.
- Do not miss the opportunity to speak with leaders and colleagues such as the CEO of a company or to get closer to your boss and other colleagues. You never know what opportunities may arise from you getting the courage to talk to them when they are more relaxed. Also, do talk to people who seem alone and shy and are observing the celebration. They may be the best people with whom to have a conversation.
- Commit to meeting at least five new people at each event.
Listen more than you talk.
The simple act of listening is a sure way to become the most interesting person in the room which is what you want when networking. When you allow others to talk about themselves and show genuine interest in what they have to say, without interrupting, they are more likely to remember you as someone interesting.
When asked about yourself, your opinions, viewpoints, or when you are given the opportunity to further engage your conversation partner, it is okay to speak up and tell them about yourself. Be very brief and succinct about what you do, how and why you do it (practice this elevator pitch ahead of time). Even so, turn the conversation back to the other person. Refrain from discussing touchy subjects like politics and, at holiday time, religion. If presented with a potentially inflammatory topic, here are some ways to deal with it:
- If the conversant is not in agreement with your opinion, politely ask questions about their viewpoint to show a continued interest. Only do this if you can show genuine curiosity about their point of view without showing or feeling frustration or other negative emotions. Later, the conversant may be more apt to listen to your opinion and give you the same attention you gave to them.
- If a topic is too controversial, avoid the subject as much as possible. If you cannot steer the conversation away from the touchy subject, graciously and politely leave the conversation so as not to alienate anyone or make them feel different because of a conflicting viewpoint. They will remember you more often for how you leave them feeling and the fact that you listened more than for what you do or say (in that order).
Remember go in and have fun but look to learn something from others.
If you do decide to drink, make sure that you have a safe way home so that the host does not have to worry about you. Schedule a car service to pick up you and your group to ensure that you get home safely without worrying about a ride.
Have a no drink left behind policy. If you see a drink laying around that doesn’t belong to anyone, you hold the responsibility to dispose of that drink. It is important to never leave a drink unattended. If you walk away from it, throw it out and get a new glass.
After the party
Send a thank you letter to the host of the party. The level of professionalism that you express at the party will be remembered by your host and attendees. Express yourself creatively in your Thank You. For example, mention the beautiful decorations, awesome food or the amazing music.
Keep up with the relationships you made.
- Reach out to the people you met at the party; they might have forgotten you as they met a lot of other people who also made them feel good.
- Bring business cards with you to the holiday party. Write specific, identifying information on the back of the card to remember that person – something they said or wore and use it when you connect on social media platforms or when you meet again in person.
Enjoy yourself, be safe and have a happy holiday season.
Our guest blogger, Olivia Hettman, is a second year student at Montclair State University. She volunteers at a homeless shelter in Dover, NJ and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success at Montclair State University.