Van Eperen’s Debra Buck and Colleen Fogarty attend the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Group holiday happy hour.
‘Tis the season for seemingly endless holiday parties! And while it may be tempting to skip out on some of the festivities, these end of year parties are often excellent networking events. Here are some tips for being efficient when networking during the holidays.
Avoid being too “pitchy.” In PR, it can be natural to start to go through your background or company’s services as if you were reading a resume. But it’s important to listen more and talk less, especially during the holidays. People are often getting in “break mode” and not always thinking of taking on new business before the holidays, so keep it casual. Schedule follow-up meetings after the new year.
Get acquainted. A good conversation starter at networking events is to discuss your connections and why are you there? For example, are you a member of the professional organization that is hosting? Do you work in the area? Have you done business with attendees? Let people know why coming to the event is important to you.
Get out of your comfort zone. A lot of companies will bring more than one of their employees to an event. It’s essential to avoid being too cliquey with the people you came with. Larger groups can be intimidating, so break away from your group and start to mingle.
Be grateful. Be sure to thank the event’s organizers before you leave. Networking events can be time consuming to plan, often involve sponsors, a local charity, etc. It’s important to thank the host and send an email post-event.
So don’t think twice about missing that holiday party. Put on your best holiday cheer and get out there and socialize. After all, connections aren’t made staying at home.