4 Tips for Holiday Networking

The holiday season is a great time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. And for those in professional service industries such as consulting agencies or law firms, you will typically find yourself attending holiday parties that offer a great opportunity to network. Working the room as you hop from one event to the next is simpler than you think. Just follow these four networking tips:

Holiday party

  1. Develop a relationship — Many people are afraid of the term networking since the concept of “selling yourself” is rather intimidating. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to develop a relationship with a peer. Questions like “How do you know the host?” or “What have you done to celebrate this holiday?” are a good way to open up a conversation without any awkwardness.
  2. Volunteer to help — The host might need help putting out an appetizer or your boss might ask someone to grab more chairs. Whatever it may be, lending a helping hand will give you the chance to be useful. Chances are other people will see you helping and ask to pitch in and then you can introduce yourself. This is a great way to circulate throughout the party as well.
  3. Always bring business cards — Whether the party you attend is work-related or casual, chances are you won’t talk  about business the whole time — you may not even talk about it at all! And that’s okay. Even if your conversation is not business related you can make a connection with a fellow party attendee and hand them your business card with a promise to follow up in 2014. This way you are fresh in their mind, without the memory of trying to force business discourse the whole night.
  4. Throw your own party — It may seem intimidating at first, but it will pay off in the end. Invite colleagues and friends and encourage them to bring a guest. Since you’re the host, feel free to introduce yourself to any unfamiliar faces and ask who they came with. As an added bonus, people might even bring gifts for the host! This provides an extra opportunity to connect with them through a thank you card.

What additional advice do you have for networking at holiday parties? Let us know in the comments!

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