The holidays are here, and along with spending time with friends and family, the holiday season is usually filled with business networking events. Whether you are at a cocktail party with clients, an end of year dinner with a local business club or any kind of holiday gathering, it is important to find the right balance that lets you unwind and celebrate but also keep your focus and remain professional.
Here are five networking tips for holiday business events that you can use to work the room in the right way:
- Be festive but focused: Holiday events are definitely feel-good occasions where your colleagues and clients will want to unwind and celebrate. One thing you don’t want to lose sight off is the opportunity to strengthen your business relationships by striking a balance between being festive but focused. When preparing for the holiday party, think about how you can tie in the different ways your business can help your fellow networkers end the year on a positive note and kick off the New Year the right way.
- Serve as a point of connection to others: As you meet people, make offers to connect your new-found allies with other individuals or communities that may be important to them heading into the New Year. The main reason everyone puts energy into building professional networks is to expand them, and initiating connection from your current network to others is a valuable proposition that will not go unnoticed and will have mutual benefits.
- Be a giver in the give and take: The holiday season is a time of giving, and what better way to reinforce your value as a contact than by listening to their business concerns and joining in their celebrations. By being a giver in the give and take and listening to your peers, they will naturally reveal ways that you can assist them or you may be able to introduce them to a connection that can help. In doing so, you be doubly appreciated by both parties, which will make your presence appreciated even more at the holiday party.
- Listen, but make the rounds: While it is important to give your colleagues ample time to share with you their stories, you do want to be able to make the rounds at holiday gatherings so that you can have the chance to speak with everyone you have planned to catch up with or meet. It is important to remain tactful and think of ways you can move around the room seamlessly, such as bringing other colleagues into a conversation before moving on.
- Leave a special holiday treat behind that is of value to your contacts: There is no better way to end the holiday event on a good note than to leave something of value behind with your contacts. Whether it is a special holiday promotion that your business is offering just for those in attendance or a handy promotional product such as a 2016 calendar, you can really leave a positive impression on everyone that ends the night on a feel-good note and sets a positive tone for the year ahead.
Holiday business networking events are perfect for reflecting on the year that was and looking forward to the year ahead. It is nice to take a moment to celebrate the holidays with your hardworking peers, and when done the right way, you will be able to successfully reinforce those relationships and create new contacts that will be able to help you during the holiday season and beyond.
Even better, you’ll be able to give back during the season of giving, and those connections you help forge will go a long way in building your own personal brand as an influential, integral part of the group.
Rob Rubin is regional vice president for Minuteman Press International. Ron is instrumental in supporting Minuteman Press franchise locations in the New England states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and eastern Connecticut. For Minuteman Press franchise opportunities, visit http://www.minutemanpressfranchise.com.