Making The Most Of ‘Silly Season’ Networking
It’s fondly referred to as the ‘Silly Season’, but for those in business, Christmas – and the inundation of party invitations that go with it – can present a great opportunity for forming meaningful career and business-advancing connections.
Ran Heimann, Founder and CEO of Haystack – business cards, without the paper – shares his top ten tips on how to achieve networking success amongst the merriment:
1. Make the most of it!
While you can’t (and probably shouldn’t) say yes to everything that comes your way, try to attend as many industry-relevant events as your liver can handle, and wrangle invites to those you know would present great networking opportunities. The holiday season is unique in that it allows for more casual relationship building than other times of year, which can expedite the trust-building process. Don’t underestimate the power of informal networking.
2. Leverage less. Learn more
Don’t treat every conversation as a potential sales pitch. Listen for ways of how you can help someone with their business. Help them, and they’ll be more inclined to help you.
3. Make a good first impression
DON’T – forget your business card, run out, or hand over something that isn’t professionally designed. DO – create your own personal electronic business card on Haystack for free so you are never caught without a business card again. Not only will it be on-brand and look beautiful, it also allows you to include a photo, so the new connections you make can remember your face even if the Eggnog gets the better of them!
4. Reconnect with old contacts
Networking isn’t all about making new contacts; nurturing existing relationships is just as important. Try and find out who from your network is coming and research what they’ve been up to since you last saw them. Showing interest in other people makes them feel valuable and important.
5. Plan your time
Think about who you want to meet and what you want to talk about ahead of time, rather than leaving it to chance.
6. Involve others
If someone is looking lost and hovering alone near the canapés, try to include them in your conversation. You never know who they might be.
7. Follow up quickly and make it personal
Try to follow-up with each new connection you make within the next 24-48 hours, and where possible, refer to something you learned from your conversation with them.
8. Keep it professional
Tagging a photo of you and your new business connection cocktail in hand on Facebook is not the way to reach out. Instead, send them a personalised business email or pick up the phone.
9. Act now
While everyone else is winding down for the year, stand out by launching into action now – don’t put off everything until January.
10. Stay in control
While you don’t have to be a teetotaller, arriving or leaving drunk is an obvious no-no. It also diminishes your mind-to-mouth filter, meaning you may say something you regret. You never know who may be listening, so choose your words carefully and be mindful what you say about your competitors. Also, try to arrive early to get some valuable networking time in before things get too merry!