As the holiday season approaches, professional holiday parties will also begin sprouting up. This is the perfect time to begin perfect your networking skill set.
Here are a few ways in which you can master holiday networking and take new connections with you into the new year!
1. Go empty-handed. Your hands need to be free for handing out business cards, taking down notes and phone numbers, and shaking hands. Leave your cell phone, coat, and brief case somewhere else.
2. Arrive early. The earlier you can communicate with people, the better. Keep in mind that people don’t want to talk business when that’s all they’ve been doing for the past few hours.
3. Remember your business cards. There’s no reason not to have a stack of business cards on hand at a networking event. Don’t forget them.
4. Keep the name badge to your right side. Because you will likely shake hands with your right hand at all times, you want your badge to stay on that side. It will be more noticeable when you extend your hand!
5. Don’t stay with the same people. No matter how intense or interesting the conversation is, move on to new people every so often.
6. Stay interested. Rather than spending your time answering questions, try asking them. Maintain eye contact and don’t let your eyes wander around the room during a conversation.
7. Lay off the alcohol consumption. It might seem obvious, but keep the drinking to a minimum. Even though alcohol might be present at the party, you must still remember you’re making a lasting impression on many of the people there. Avoid drinking altogether, but if you must do so, alternate water or other non-alcoholic beverages between drinks.
8. Follow up! What’s the sense in going to a holiday business party if you don’t follow up? Catch up with your new connections on LinkedIn or shoot them an email within two days after the party.
Above all, remember to have fun at your holiday event! If you’re having fun, the chances are high that other people are too.