The holidays are upon us and we are either invited to business functions and social parties or we decide to host a party ourselves. Many people view these events as stressful. Accordingly, some ideas are listed below to help you enjoy the events more fully. And they are designed to help further enhance your personal brand and quite possibly, attract new business.
As you enter a networking holiday function, wear a big smile to look friendly and approachable. Some businesspeople appear like vultures immediately delving into inquiring about business hardly letting you enjoy the moment. Instead, put the social foot forward first. Ask your new acquaintance if they have any special plans for the holidays.
Inquiries into the other person’s plans for the holidays usually develop into a nice two-way conversation. Of course, if the conversation proves to be one-sided, you know this is not the type of person you wish to work with and so politely move on to meeting a friendlier other.
The inevitable question of, “What do you do for work?” will have its time and place. This leads nicely into the business portion of the discussion. Done well, you have an even better chance for attracting new clientele.
Attending holiday parties begin in a similar fashion, however, there are additional elements of etiquette and strategy to consider. Greet the host first offering thanks for being included. Have you ever witnessed individuals hovering over the table with food? It is far better to place small portions on a plate and walk away to find someone with whom to share a conversation. Be mindful of good furniture by placing a coaster or napkin underneath a frothy drink.
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Have business cards tucked away and share only when asked. If you are in a corporate environment, let the others drink alcohol while you carefully listen to information that they wouldn’t otherwise share. Much insight has been gained and large sales made with this particular strategy! As you leave the holiday party, once again thank the host.
If you are the host of a business holiday event, find a few minutes after all the guests have arrived to have everyone introduce themselves. You might have them share their funniest holiday memory to lighten the mood. And if you recognize two people would do well together, make the effort to introduce them.
Should you be the host of a holiday party, whether you have a large home or a one-room apartment, arrange “food stations” in a variety of areas to encourage further networking. For example, place hot beverages in the kitchen area, hors d’oeuvres or main dish in the middle of the space and dessert near a window. Instead of individuals planting themselves in one spot, they will now be motivated to move through your space and meet most of the guests making for a memorable party.
In the end, you will make an excellent impression at the events, and very likely someone will call you for business and that leads to a very Smooth Sale!
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC, (800) 704-1499, was honored by Open View Labs with inclusion in their international list of “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012.” Elinor authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, Sourcebooks and the best selling career book, “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”, Career Press.