Holiday Networking

You have not worked all year, or business has been slow to the point where you must lay people off, or you just completed an assignment.  Now, you have to get ready for the holidays, which can bring on depression, but turn it around this year.  Make this the year you enlist everyone to help you find a job, find business or your next assignment.

Most people shy away from networking during the holidays; however, you should be doing the opposite.  This is the time that you are invited to attend numerous events for FREE!  Why would you say no?  Here are a few tips to make networking during the holidays a productive event:

  • Accept invitations – there are some parties that ask for a nominal fee to cover alcohol and food costs. Consider attending those if your budget allows.  There are even more parties to which you will be invited because you were a colleague, you are a friend, or even if someone needs a “plus one.”  Say yes to them.  Get in however you can.
  • Make a pre-list – if you can, of the people attending the event to whom you want to connect. Sometimes you can casually ask the host, “Is Sandi attending?” and since these are people you know well, they usually respond.
  • Arrive early – when you are the first person to arrive at the party, it gives you a chance to connect with the host by helping them get any last minute things in place. They are usually appreciative.  Then you are in a position to see the latecomers when they arrive and become a “greeter” to make a connection.
  • Have a strategy – If you have a list of people, you can target to connect with that person at the beginning and end of the party. At the beginning when they arrive, just say hello and greet them.  Do not ask anything right away since you are reconnecting.  During the party, or right before they leave, reconnect and let them know how you are available for work.  Or if you would like them to connect you to someone in their network, that is the time to ask.
  • Do not overindulge in alcohol. You do not want everyone remembering you as the person who was slurring your words or speaking too loudly.  This will erase all your good work and efforts that you have put into preparing for these events, and will eventually damage your reputation.
  • Follow up – make sure you complete the circle by following up after the holidays. Invite people for coffee or just for a five-minute chat.  Keep the party going!

One last tip.  These holiday party tips are really regular networking tips in disguise – they work throughout the year at regular networking events.  You are just being more prepared.