So, how were your holidays? Go to any good parties? Meet any new people? Learn something new about anyone?
Like everyone else, I attended numerous holiday events of all kinds, business, staff, family, friends, family again, parents of my kids’ friends…you get it. With the density of festivities during the holidays we get lots of opportunities to practice networking tactics – from upfront to subtle.
Sometimes I am aware that I am networking, sometimes I attend with a plan, and other times a comment a guest makes at a purely social function makes that little click happen in my head that throws me into networker mode when I wasn’t even thinking that way. This can be great – the ability to socialize casually and still keep my ears open for threads of business interest is a valuable skill. Or it can get me into trouble. I have had to squash the urge when it’s really not appropriate – like talking to my husband’s new boss at his awards dinner. Repeat the mantra: not about me not about me. It helps.
This year I experimented with doing the opposite of what I often do. At a New Year’s Day brunch hosted by my sons’ coach I was chatting with one of the hostess’ work colleagues and she mentioned something she does for her clients. The alert in my head instantly jumped to “so, what kind of clients do you have?” but I decided not go there. Instead we started talking about jewelry and I think I learned a lot more about who she is than if I drilled in on her job right away. I can always ask the host what someone does, but I might have learned something the host doesn’t know by avoiding talking about work.
It was a fun and interesting month. As we move into a new year, think about what new things you can try to make great connections.