As the Christmas period approaches, thoughts slowly turn towards the New Year and what next year entails. It’s easy to forget that the festive period can be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ for networking outside of the office. Networking is a crucial aspect of boosting any business, therefore with Christmas parties, award ceremonies and events popping up everywhere throughout December, it serves as a great opportunity to meet new and existing clients. Our top tips for networking over the festive period will help ensure 2018 starts with a bang.
Be proactive and widen the net
Networks are most useful when they are large and involve many people who don’t know one another. In order to bolster your network, don’t just settle for attending the same events every Christmas. Why not be proactive and ask a friend or contact if you can attend a new event as their +1. Offer to reciprocate the favour in the future and they will be more likely to accept.
Approach one’s and two’s
It can be an intimidating prospect breaking into a group that’s mid-conversation (even if it’s about their Christmas holiday plans). Instead, scan the room and identify pairs to whom you can introduce yourself too. Equally, attendees standing alone are great targets, they may be waiting for a friend or colleague but in the meantime it’s easy to introduce yourself and start the conversation.
Develop strong relationships
Bombarding everyone with a 2 minute conversation and a business card may generate work in the short run, however taking the time to develop a human connection will prove much more fruitful as we move in to the New Year. Don’t do all the talking, instead abide by the 80:20 rule (80% of the time asking about someone else, 20% promoting yourself) and you will develop meaningful long lasting relationships with attendees.
Mull over that decision to “just have one more glass”
When you are aiming to impress, having one glass of mulled wine too many is a no-go. However much fun you may be having, leave at the point where you think ‘a couple more glasses won’t hurt’. This ensures everyone has seen you at your best (professional, happy & busy) and you will have nothing to regret the following day.
As attendees may be heading off on Christmas leave, follow-up with an email or LinkedIn request within 24 hours proposing to meet up over coffee in the New Year. A simple thank you note to the organiser will also go a long way, standing you in good stead to be invited back the following Christmas.