4 Holiday Networking Nuances
Loathe it or love it? Networking during the holidays has its nuances, as does the start of a new year when people’s attitudes are generally motivated and ready to talk shop.
While it is recommended that you maintain a professional demeanor at any and all events regardless of the time of year, the holidays seem to bring about a more light-hearted and even casual attitude.
You might run into the strictly business-minded networker who is not concerned with the fancy appetizers and free-flowing cocktails; sometimes putting off the holiday-minded networker. Still others, entirely avoid networking functions during the holidays, believing it is a waste of time. No business will get done!
While that might be true, you can consider the holiday-state-of-mind an opportunity to get to know people on a more personal level. Which can only be good for future business, right?
Whether you’re unsure or plan to attend, here are 4 holiday networking nuances to be aware of:
1. Attire. If the invitation or announcement indicates “formal wear”, adhere to it as best you can. However, if it is a regularly scheduled networking event, wear business attire. If you’re into donning a snowman-themed tie or reindeer broach, go for it.
However, over-exaggerating any holiday fashion is not advisable. For example, wearing a jingly bell belt draped around your hips or a mistletoe headband, is probably not a good idea.
Similarly, wearing a low-cut, see-through top–not the best choice in a business environment.
2. Attitude. Be ready to adjust your attitude because inevitably you’ll come across the person who is ready to talk business and another who isn’t.
A note to those who have checked out; there is a tactful way of telling someone that you are not discussing business: “Why don’t we connect in January...” Or, “I didn’t come prepared to talk shop…my mind is in holiday mode…So what are you plans for…?”
A note to those who are in business mode; If you feel it is a waste of your time, politely wish the holiday-minded attendee a wonderful holiday, ask if you can contact him/her in January, and move on.
3. Single-minded salesperson. Similar to the attitude of attendees, there can be extremes. That would be the desperately pushy salesperson. You know the one. They follow you shoving their brochure into your hand, or cornering you talking only inches from your face about the great deal they can give you only TODAY!
Okay, we can agree that they might need to attend a sales training 101 course. But how can you politely tell them to buzz off? Here are a couple of options: a) “Thanks, but I’m all done with my holiday shopping.” b) “I’ll take a brochure with me; if I’m interested I’ll contact you.”
If they insist, you might have to be a bit more forceful; “Thank you, but I am not interested. Please excuse me.” Say it while making direct eye contact.
4. Buzzed and boisterous. During the holidays, networking events may offer alcoholic beverages, and it could be flowing a bit more than usual. It does not mean that you are required to partake. One too many can lead to an unforgettable interaction. It can earn you a spot on social media too.
Keep in mind that a holiday business function, still requires some professionalism. If you see a colleague in an undesirable situation, find a discreet way to remove him or her before their reputation is tarnished.
No matter what the setting or time of year is, consider holding back your party persona just a little. In other words, don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t want broadcasted all over social media.
____Etiquette is an attitude.
Rosalinda Randall is the author of, “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom”, and a modern-day pundit on tact and civility. She has been successfully improving workplace environments and relationships by spreading civility and sharing enthusiastic and insightful advice for more than 14 years through her workshops and presentations.
For more information on her programs, please click here.
You might also like reading: “13 Phrases to Address Personal Questions”