Nadia is happy to co-host this networking event, along with SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.
“I hate going to holiday parties,” my friend Miri complained.
“What don’t you like?” I asked.
“I’m not great at mingling, and I don’t like making small talk.”
“I get tired of telling people my life history and what I do for a living,” Miri replied.
Do you ever feel like this? I know many of us do.
“I think I know the problem, Miri,” I told my friend. You look at these parties as an obligation rather than a golden opportunity.” Miri looked surprised when I suggested she might need an attitude adjustment. I suggested that she should look at these gatherings as a wonderful way to network and expand her circle of social or business relations. Remember, networking is not only who you know, but who knows you.
Here are a few additional tips to help you turn holiday parties into wonderful networking opportunities:
Remember everything you have learned about networking as “an attitude”, “a way of being.” Think, “I’m going to meet at least two new people tonight” or “I’m going to get to know at least two people better, or in more depth” (as said by the Baltimore Networking group.) Carry a pen so that you can write information on the back of people’s cards that may be helpful after the party.
To help you remember someone’s name, repeat the name as soon as you hear it – “Nice to meet you, Sandi.” Or find an association, “Max…Yes that is my dog’s name!”
If you forget someone’s name (and most of us do), confess as soon as you realize you’ve forgotten it. We often forget the name in the first few minutes. The longer we wait to ask, the more awkward it is to ask. Keep in mind, the other person has probably already forgotten your name, too.
People remember the way you make them feel, long after they remember exactly what you said.
If you wish to end a conversation, use the “Compliment, Need, Compliment” technique: “Mike, you’ve really done some great things this year. I need to say hello to some other people. I really enjoyed chatting with you.” Other needs might include using the restroom, getting something to eat, or refreshing your drink.
Needless to say, my colleagues and I discussed a wide range of possibilities, from trying to find the latest video game to the perfect Coach purse.
Our control room director has a young child, and when it came to choosing a gift for his wife, he said he wished he could buy her time!
This triggered a question in my mind: While we spend a great deal of time buying people the perfect gift, do we spend as much time giving them the gift of our attention?
The reality is that what people crave most is feeling validated and listened to. In fact, as M. Scott Peck has pointed out, “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”
So, this holiday, let’s make it a challenge to ourselves to really be PRESENT during the festivities. That entails asking a family member what their biggest challenge is at the moment, or asking an elderly relative what they remember most about their childhood, and then really paying attention to the answers. It also entails meeting the challenge of putting your smart phone away for the entire duration of the meal, and resisting the urge to glance at it if you take your kids outside to play.
I am convinced that if we all spent as much time cultivating our listening skills and being present as we do choosing the perfect gift, we would in fact be giving the greatest present of all — validation.
Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best for the Holidays!!!
Do you ever feel so tired that you literally can’t move?
Do you ever wonder if you are experiencing a level of “burnout?”
Do you ever wish the weekend was just one more day and you still had just one more hour of sleep before you had to wake up?
A couple of months ago, I was so overwhelmed with fatigue that I decided to consult a physician.
She had come highly recommended as someone who had a “holistic” approach.
After extensive testing, she came back with a prescription that was so simple and yet so profound, and I wanted to share it with you.
“Between others’ request of you, and your response there lies a PAUSE.”
In essence, Dr. Williams was simply saying STOP immediately saying YES to everything.
STOP feeling obliged to be at every event you are invited to.
STOP running yourself ragged.
PAUSE and think about the ramifications of committing yourself and say, “Is this activity/person/event important? Am I saying yes for good reason, or should I politely decline?”
As it happens, in our Presentations Skills courses, we teach that a pause is one of the most powerful non-verbal tools you can use. The pause is also the most powerful tool you have to help manage your time, life, and energy.
And so I am taking this pause to wish you a healthy, energized and not over-committed week.
Isn’t it fascinating that while so much goes right, our minds will still focus on the one thing that doesn’t? If you are anything like me, you chastise yourself endlessly when things don’t go perfectly.
That’s what happened to me recently, when a guest I had booked left the CNN set just just before his second interview. It turned out his phone was off, and he hadn’t seen my texts giving him his updated schedule. It was a departure that I should have been aware of, but didn’t notice because of a momentary distraction. Afterwards, I went over and over what I could/should/would have done differently. It was only when a colleague said “these things happen, there’s nothing else you could have done, so stop beating yourself up,” that I paused and reflected on the fact that in reality I was being cruel to myself.
While I firmly believe that accountability, ownership and self reflection are a critical part of professionalism, expecting yourself and the world to be perfect can be energy-sapping and counter-productive.
So, I ask you, what are you upset with yourself about? Perhaps it’s time to accept that by nature we are not perfect beings and the world is a far from perfect place.
Clearly, I am writing this to myself as much as to you. You can’t only like yourself when things go smoothly You also have to have compassion for yourself when the inevitable glitches happen!
Think about where you are at right now, this moment. Are you feeling all is right in your world, or are you feeling you could’ve should’ve done things differently? I urge you to be kind to your imperfect self. Nobody can be superhuman and perfect all of the time, and often it’s the mistakes you make and the detours that you take that are your best teachers.