How many of you will be attending tomorrow’s holiday bash at the Wayfarer?
I’m looking forward to it, especially the opportunity to get to schmooze with some of you and raise a glass to ring in the new year. Even for hard core networkers like us, holiday parties can be anxiety provoking. Following are highlights from a related WSJ article- as well as some of my own – on navigating holiday parties successfully.
- Pre-party planning: Who, among Lucky 62, do you want to meet or have a conversation with?
- Make the most of each conversation:
- Be fully present, friendly and considerate.
- Envision a mental version of the card game Concentration, focusing on and remembering specific details about the individual.
- Stand straight, face your partner, and make frequent eye contact. Avoid gazing over the person’s shoulder as this implies you are not interested.
- An open, engaged stance keeps body language friendly.
3. You can have a good conversation in 3-5 minutes, so it’s reasonable to expect one to close after five or 10 minutes. This makes sense if your goal is to make the rounds.
4. Try to anticipate when a discussion will wane and give upbeat reasons for moving on while leaving others feeling good and not rejected.
- Summarize the conversation and or express appreciation for what the other person has said. Something like, “It sounds as if we have a lot of common interests,” or “It’s been a pleasure talking or meeting you OR So interesting to learn about you and your business.” This is different than making up a vague, halfhearted excuse, such as, “I guess we should both go circulate,” which is a not-so-subtle way of saying, “I’m done with you.”
- Have a real agenda which you can also use as a reason for moving on. This could be something as simple as ” I promised myself I would talk to 10 people tonight or I promised myself I would talk to everyone in the Real Estate Power Sphere.”
5. Got cornered by a nonstop talker? Extend your hand, make eye contact and say, “It was a pleasure meeting/talking with you. I have a few more people I want to see, but I’ll be in touch.” Then move on. Another option is to pull in a third person by asking your conversation partner to introduce you to someone you want to meet, or introduce her to others with shared interests. You can also invite your contact to come along as you move on to the next conversation.