The most (un)wonderful time of the year – the Holiday Party season – is upon us. The deliveries come fast and furious. The customer demands are impossible. But that doesn’t mean you can strap on your Grinch attitude and grumble your way through holiday parties. Believe it or not, they can actually be good for you. Holiday parties offer you opportunities – to reconnect with old colleagues, meet new ones and add a little cheer to your professional network.
So, let your favorite Goddess lead you along the poinsettia-strewn path to Holiday Party Happiness:
1) Go – The first thing you have to do is accept those invites to holiday dos. Although the tendency this time of year is to channel your inner-Scrooge, do not succumb! Go with an open mind and know you’ll make a few contacts that will make the trip worthwhile. You never know who you’ll meet and you can’t win if you don’t play.
2) Ask Questions- Don’t like small talk? Don’t worry. Lead with a question about the other person and you’ll look like a genius. Not only will questions help you break the ice, they will also give you information about ways the two of you can connect in 2015.
3) Bring business cards, darn it – For some reason, there’s a trend towards people proudly saying they “don’t use” business cards. What’s up with that? Your business card is still a great tool for reminding people who you are. And, while some high tech types glory in not using them, the Goddess finds their “too cool for cards” attitude tedious. They are tools. Use them!
4) Follow up- The holiday party is the beginning, not the end of a connection. Keep the conversations going to cultivate real relationships. Holiday parties are all about opening the door to afollow-up meeting. After the party, send a “good to meet you” email or LinkedIn request to those who could benefit your company. Make sure you remind them when and where you met. The Goddess knows just how fascinating you are, but those who meet you once haven’t had time to appreciate you fully. If you want to move the relationship farther, suggest a time for coffee or lunch after the New Year.
5)Dress the part. Even if it’s a casual party, make sure to wear something that’s sharp and in style, but lose the awkward holiday wear. Making a spectacle of yourself doesn’t open the door to serious follow-up, even if it is the holiday season. The Goddess will allow you a holiday-oriented scarf or tie, but save the light-up reindeer antlers for Aunt Tilly’s Open House.
The Goddess and all her goddesses wish you and yours a well-stuffed Thanksgiving and a warm and cozy December holiday season (with many deliveries that arrive for your customers on-time!)
It’s not too early to think about the CLDA Annual Meeting. This year it’s May 6-9 at Walt Disney World. You’ll meet shippers, other carriers anxious to do business with you and colleagues who can share a few tips. For more information, go to TheCLDA.com
CLDA Connections is a monthly blog and forum about face-to-face marketing for CLDA members from our very own Networking Goddess. We encourage you to share your networking tips, successes and goofs with each other through comments on this blog.