The holidays offer you plenty of fantastic opportunities to network. There are always so many holiday parties and get-togethers that you can attend. Whether you’re attending an office holiday party or a family holiday party, you can make the most of these events by getting some really great contacts.
If you play your cards right, a holiday party could help advance your career. So let’s get into the spirit of the holiday season with some networking tips to make the most out of your holiday party, whether in-person or remote.
accept invites to holiday parties
Got invited to some holiday parties? Now is the time to go to as many as possible. This way, the more parties you go to, the more contacts you make, the better, even if communication is minimal. You might be invited to some online gatherings or virtual events. Accept these invitations as well. You never know who you’re going to meet at these in-person or virtual events. The goal of networking is to have a contact who remembers who you are and what you do. Meaning, that the more contacts you meet, the greater the chances are of finding someone who can help you find promising job opportunities. So whether virtual or in-person, accept all holiday invites this year.
It all begins with your name. Introducing yourself might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to introduce themselves. Whether at a holiday party online or in person, make sure you introduce yourself to everyone. Everyone you meet could be a potential lead, so introduce yourself well. There is an art to an introduction. Think of it as an elevator pitch, so practice before you head over to the holiday parties. Once you’ve got it down, it will help get the conversation rolling.
ask for advice
You're at a holiday party, while it's not really appropriate to ask for a job at the holiday party. Instead, you can use different kinds of language to get answers to what you are looking for. For example, you can use phrases like:
- I'm interested in learning more about…
- I value your opinion and would love your advice about…
- Could you expand on what you were saying about…
Typically, people are more receptive to being a resource than a means to an end. So, ask them valuable questions or ask questions that make them feel like they are being used as a resource, rather than just as someone in your contact list.
When you get a chance, take notes about everything that happened at the holiday party, from people's names, their job titles, and topics you've discussed with them at the party. You can either wait until you get home to do this or use your notes app on your phone to take notes while you're at the party. If the event is virtual, even better! Keep a word document open on your computer, while you chat with everyone. This way, you can take notes while talking to the person. Just remember, stay engaged with the conversation to not make it look like you're taking notes. You never know when the notes may be helpful for future contacts, so make sure they're as detailed as possible.
listen, then talk
Being an active listener isn't always the easiest. It is a skill that requires practice. Why should you listen first, then speak? Well, the people at your holiday parties can provide valuable information and insight that you can take if you aren't too busy doing all the talking. So listen first, then ask follow-up questions. This isn't saying that you shouldn't speak during the holiday party. It's just to let them talk first and be natural. This will allow you to establish a rapport with someone by following up with insightful yet straightforward questions. You'll never know what you'll learn if you're doing all the talking and none of the listening, so listen to what other people have to say.
You should always be asking for people’s business cards from each new contact you meet at in-person events and then follow up with them through an email or, better yet, a telephone call, referencing something specific from your conversation. For your virtual events, make sure you get their email address or connect with them on LinkedIn. This way, you can follow up with them about something from the holiday event via email or send a direct message on LinkedIn. You should always follow up with potential contacts after every holiday party. You’ll be thankful that you took notes during those virtual holiday events.
need more networking advice?
Take the awkwardness out of networking, check out these tips and tricks for making networking a little less awkwardread the article