Well networking season has officially begun. We’ve gotten past Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s the time of year where there are all kinds of invitations waiting for you. Some of this is fun; a lot of it is business. If you’re job hunting, the best thing you can do is get out there with your business card and your ‘elevator speech’ and start introducing yourself. Some tips to help you navigate this challenging and lively time:
Look the part you want to play. This means dressing in a business-like fashion with a little extra something to show your holiday gaiety. It doesn’t usually mean cocktail dresses or tuxedos unless indicated on an invitation. There are numerous websites/articles that you can refer to for this purpose. No the fashion police will not be at the party, but you want to be remembered for your witty dialogue, your intelligence and charm and not a fashion faux-pas.
Rehearse your ‘holiday elevator pitch’. You normally have some kind of introduction you use, now it the time to add something about holiday festivities, gift shopping, or extra work you are doing because of end of year crunch. Those of you who are unemployed can speak to volunteer activities such as helping out at your church, or Toys for Tots initiatives. This is even more demanding for the introverts out there, don’t despair but do prepare. Rehearse how you’re going to say things so that you get comfortable.
Don’t go too hungry. Yes, I know there will be food, but how are you going to network if you’re stuffing yourself, holding onto a drink? Aha, you get it. Try to have some kind of snack or meal ahead of time. Sure you can nibble, but in a dignified fashion. You’re find it even more satisfying.
Don’t bemoan your ill-deserved fate, your bad year, or any other unfortunate events. Put your best foot forward such as speaking about some successes, or plans and projects for the New Year. It’s a time of year that people want to feel merry, don’t disappoint.
Be ready to talk about something that has been meaningful to you this past year, whether a world event, a life change, a new venture. Show that you are alert to your surroundings and the world at large. I don’t mean a long monologue on the evils of the current Congress session; just demonstrate that you are a thinking and caring individual.
There you have it. Dust off the red tie, or the sparkly sweater, practice your pitch, and off you go into the world of seasonal networking to promote your personal brand.