The holiday season is here! And for professionals, that means the Christmas Party. Regardless of beliefs, observances, or politically correct names, the Christmas Party is an annual rite for professionals of various levels and accomplishments. Whether you enjoy, abhor, or tolerate them, the Christmas Party must be addressed. Absences are conspicuously noticed. Embarrassment is an evitable consequence to many poor souls. And mysterious, new assignments result from them. Regardless of past experiences, the Christmas Party is a prime opportunity to connect with your next great client, to improve careers and to elevate your business profile.
So, rehearse those elevator speeches, grab those business cards and prepare for a successful holiday season by strategically approaching the Christmas Party. So in the spirit of Saint Nick, make your list, check it twice, find out what prospects are naughty and nice, then sled into the holiday party scene.
1. Introduce the Elves
Many of us know the names of some of the reindeer. But, can we name any of the elves? Probably not. There are a lot of them and they basically look alike. That describes most people at a holiday party. Like the elves, they serve an important purpose. You can’t have a holiday party without them. So at the party, introduce yourself to someone you don’t know. Then, introduce them to someone else. Make them feel important, too. Just like you never know which elf is responsible for your toy, you never know which guest can influence your professional progress. So, ask questions about their role, put a name to the face, then listen to learn if you can help each other.
2. Drink the Egg Nog
Always in moderation. Party goers tend to gather around the egg nog pitcher, or the punch bowl. People who are not well connected at the party tend to gravitate there more. While maintaining control of your egg nog consumption, remain consciously aware of less discrete party goers. Ask them polite, but professional questions. See if your interests overlap. Laugh at their jokes. Be memorable by listening and caring. Party tip: cranberry juice and club soda is indistinguishable from many holiday punches.
3. … And to All a Good Night
All parties must come to an end. Consequently, you want to be able to say good bye to the contacts that you make. This simple, and often overlooked, social grace helps you to be memorable. It also allows you to confirm the follow-up information for your new contacts. Exchange text messages on the spot; or business cards for the traditionalists. The last impression is important. So smile, wish them a Happy Holiday and say good-night. By all means, follow-up!!
Holiday parties can be a great time. Intentionally choose parties that may give a professional advantage. Do not expect to close deals at holiday parties. You establish and strengthen relationships at these events. Listen, share and be memorable for all the right reasons. People do business with people. Tis the season to demonstrate that you are the person with whom to do business.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond