Research, rehearse and relax….but not too much.

Research, rehearse and relax….but not too much.

As the festive season bears down on us fast, effective networking skills are vital if you and your colleagues are to take full advantage of the potential business opportunities that the Christmas calendar has to offer.

If you happen to be the one planning the event, there will probably come a time when you say to yourself, “I just cannot wait for it to be over!” Yes, juggling important guests and colleagues can be a daunting prospect; however, the networking opportunities on offer are often too good to waste.

Here are 5 top tips to guide you and your colleagues in the right direction and avoid any networking ‘disasters’ this Christmas.

  • Preparation is paramount.  You would never go into a negotiation or a business deal without being fully prepared, take the same approach when hosting or attending a business event.
  • Define your end state: Before you start, define what it is you are trying to achieve by hosting this event.  Do you, for example, want to introduce a key client to all the members of your team, or showcase the high calibre of your existing client base to a prospect? Knowing your end state is key to figuring out how you are going to achieve a successful outcome.
  • Rehearsal.  It may seem odd rehearsing a social event, but it is essential.  In the military, we performed ‘Rock Drills’ before every ‘operation’.  Physically walking through the proposed sequence of events is an incredibly effective and efficient way of detecting potential problem areas and highlighting those that need more consideration.
  • Assigned hosting.  Don’t forget your guests! This does not have to feel contrived or overtly formal.  Assigning hosts to look after each guest at various stages of the event will not only mean they are always being attended to, but that they have a good time and therefore associate that feeling with your business.
  • Research.  Do some strategic research into your guests.  Check out their LinkedIn profile and create a crib sheet for your colleagues.  Knowing a few titbits of information will at the very least show you have a genuine interest in them and at best, throw you a lifeline in a conversational drought!

Stay tuned for part 2 of our Christmas Networking Survival Guide – ‘How to avoid conversational drought