The spirit of Christmas is well and truly upon us. London is literally glittering with festive lights and anything everything that stands still for long enough has been wrapped in tinsel. Oh yes, we are all aglow with the Season of Goodwill.
In terms of networking, this means doing the rounds of countless Christmas parties. This is undoubtedly the best time of year to get out and meet new people. But make sure those extra calories and hours out and about count for something other that an expanding waistline and sore head!
- 1. Networking opportunities will pop up in all sorts of ways. Lots of businesses send out invitations for a small drinks party at the end of the working day and they are almost always worth making the effort and dropping in.
- 2. Try to arrive at events early. These are not social parties where you may feel embarrassed by an early arrival. Some of the best networking is done before the party begins. The same applies to staying late. Often this is impossible, if there are trains to catch. But if the event is particularly important to you, try to find a way. Often, at the end of functions, when people are really relaxed, wonderful connections can be made.
- 3. Avoid very drunk people – including you! Everyone enjoys making merry, but your local solicitors’ six O’clock cocktail party is really not the place. If you’ve imbibed one glass of mulled wine too many, make your excuses and leave immediately. Eat something before you arrive and alternate your alcoholic drinks with water.
- 4. Don’t take things too seriously. Allow some light-hearted cheer to reflect in your demeanor and make the most of the convivial atmosphere. There is licence to be a little more edgy during this time, so have fun and enjoy yourself!
- 5. Allow the festive cheer to infuse your follow-ups. Act quickly; ideally within twenty-four hours, but certainly within the week following the event. Send a warm message; add a reference to the event you both attended and perhaps some sort of seasonal greeting. As we all wind up this year’s business, there may not be an opportunity to follow up with your new connection until next year, so what are you going to do to stay memorable?
Christmas parties are not just about the fabulous fare, festive fizz, dazzlingly decorated venues and pulling the odd cracker! Remember, it’s the best opportunity to end the year by forging new friendships and re-connecting with older contacts. Everyone wants the same thing. Goodwill to all men. So head into December with all the enthusiasm of Bob Cratchit and none of the cynicism of Ebinezer Scrooge, and you’ll be onto a winner.