By Gregory Ferrett
Welcome to Monday
I have attended many end of year functions and observed some unusual behaviour. It is at these functions where the best and worst of a persons character can be on display.
Faye Hollands, an accomplished career coach and director of Outshine Consulting, says it doesn’t matter whether you’re at your work Christmas party where you know lots of people, or at a networking event where you know very few, being on top of your game and setting the right impression upfront is paramount when you meet someone new. As they say, first impressions count. All of the usual networking rules apply, but here are Faye’s 5 pitfalls that the silly season seems to amplify: –
Too Much Booze
A couple of drinks are often great for dutch courage, giving you the confidence to approach someone you’ve wanted to introduce yourself to for a long time. But be mindful that slurring, spitting, and general drunken behavior probably isn’t going to set the kind of impression you were hoping for!
There’s nothing worse than having ‘the fear’ the following day when you think you’ve embarrassed yourself, especially when it’s in front of someone new and important. So you have two options – either restrain yourself and go for the quality introductions OR have a blast but avoid staggering up to the CEO for that ‘all important’ talk about how you want to be promoted. Don’t mix the two!
In the throws of a Christmas event, when everyone’s excited and having fun, it’s easy to talk over people. However, we all know how frustrating it is when it’s impossible to finish a sentence without being interrupted. Hold yourself back, let people have their moment, and then you can have yours too.
You might find yourself in a situation where there’s a lot going on around you which can be quite distracting. But there’s nothing worse than talking to someone new, and realising that their focus is on everyone else in the room apart from you. So if you’re going to make the time and effort to meet new people, make sure you properly listen to them and give them your undivided attention during your conversation. Don’t be remembered as rude! Being Inappropriate
I don’t know what it is about Christmas events, but I’ve seen too many people use them as a license to be inappropriate. Just because Santa’s about to make an appearance doesn’t mean that what’s normally off-limits becomes OK now. If you want to avoid the cringe-factor, make sure you apply the same rules you would at any other regular networking event or party.
It great to find common ground with people as it helps build rapport, but being loose-lipped and talking about people or subjects that should remain confidential is a big no-no! Being seen as a gossip, or an employee that can’t be trusted, won’t help your career at all. It’s better to say nothing than to spill the beans and find they come back to bite you later!
So now those pitfalls are out of the way, it’s time to go and have some fun! If you use Christmas events wisely, you can really come out of the silly season on top, with some great connections to follow-up with in the new year and a new network that will help you get ahead professionally.
This weeks Question and Actions
Before you attend that end of year fuction be prepared and have a few conversational starters ready. Remember others like to talk about themselves, so working the room is about letting others do the talking.
- Take time to memorise the names of the people you are likely to meet – greeting people by their first name gets things moving quickly
- Have two or three questions you can use with everyone to get the conversation started. This is easier at an office party as the questions are more obvious.
- Move around the room and have lots of short conversations. If someone seems like an interesting person to follow-up suggest a catch-up in the new year (or some specific time)
The end of year networking event is about meeting people and enjoying their company. Make a good impression and you will be off to a great new year.
Have a great week
Exceptional Sales Performance
Faye Holland – Director of Outshine Consulting. Faye is an accomplished career coach and productivity specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve professional success.
Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; firstname.lastname@example.org