With all of the holiday parties fast approaching, and the networking opportunities that can go with them, the timing seems right to go over some brief networking do’s and don’ts. If holiday networking is done with tact, it can lead to a valuable working relationship.
Make sure that when you speak with someone new that you make eye contact with them. Lack of eye contact can make you seem disinterested in the conversation, or the person you are speaking with. It can also make you come across as uncomfortable and looking for an escape from the discussion.
Be aware of the comfort level of the person you are speaking with. If they are not fluent networkers, they may be uncomfortable in the situation and it may be best to introduce yourself and walk away, then plan on touching base later down the road.
Turn the conversation to the other person and find something about them that is of genuine interest to you. Ask them questions about it, but be careful to not get too personal.
Introduce your new acquaintance to other people at the party that you know. When you do introductions, make sure to not only include their name and what they do, but also a little bit about themselves, maybe a commonality, to start the conversation flow.
Do not drink too much. While it is important to have a good time, it is more important to look and act professional. Dress nicely, look successful, and hold your alcohol.
Do not be pushy when you are networking. Everyone networks to gain business, but don’t be the person at the party handing out business cards (unless asked). Make your encounters count by learning as much as you can, and touch base down the road for any work related pitches.
Last but not least, enjoy yourself! It is the holiday season, and people can sense if you are having a good time, and that in turn allows them to enjoy it with you.