The Greater Impact of Holiday Networking

“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.”

“Anything else?”

“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:

Tip #1: Go in with an open mindset.
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.
Tip #2: Remember names.
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!”
Tip #3: Don’t be embarrassed.
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.
Tip #4: Make others feel important by showing genuine interest.
People remember the way you make them feel, long after they remember exactly what you said.
Tip #5: “Help! I’m stuck in a boring conversation.”
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.