'Tis The Season - The Holiday Season
On August 15th, our Blog title was 'Tis The Season" - it was all about job hunting in the fall (mid-September to mid-November). Now our season is the holidays. Regardless of what you celebrate, holiday parties are being held everywhere. Companies host them internally. Professional Associations have their annual get-togethers. Varying organizations host parties for their clients/prospects/alumni. 'Tis the season - to network!
Attending these parties is critical. Internally, you want to be visible and celebratory. If you are in the market, you want to be visible and celebratory as well. That said, each year the news (defined as news stories [CNN, Fox, etc.] to Facebook) carries articles about people behaving badly. You want to make an impression - just not one people write about OR post about. Twitter and Facebook are realities . . . . . . let's not be their poster child.
There was a great book, first published in 1988 - and revised/updated multiple times since - that contains some great advice. The book, How To Work A Room by Susan RoAne is still one to read. To save you some time, here are a few rules to remember:
- Adopt a positive attitude: Not everyone enjoys this time of year, and not every event is one we want to attend. We often end up at our spouse/partner's work event. We may be there on a night we would rather be elsewhere. Regardless, start with a positive attitude. You are there - make the best of it.
- Plan your self-introduction: If nothing else, time it! Not every event OR every person you meet needs a 10-minute introduction to you/your background. The event you are at and reasons for your attendance will dictate some of the script. In addition to planning, practice it.
- Check your business cards: Whether you are at a professional meeting or a purely social event, business cards are still traded. Don't leave home without them.
- Practice your handshake: We can all remember shaking hands with someone who (a) nearly broke all of the bones in our hand or (b) was so limp we felt sick from it. Practice - so that you are neither of these!
And finally - AT&T
Never tell a joke that has not been field-tested in front of people that will give you honest feedback. What is AT&T?
Social Media - you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Remember cameras that required film? We all carry a powerful camera and video recorder in our pocket today. Even at parties, they are constantly out and being used. People post pictures indiscriminately. You don't have to give permission. Let's make sure you don't need to ask forgiveness. Don't dress suggestively; don't drink excessively. These two rules should keep you safe.