Christmas Networking: combine fun with caution | Podcast

Yes: the party season is upon us. With Christmas networking, parties, dinners and even a pub crawl in my case! Many of these events are related to business, and are great fun, BUT they should be approached as a business event.

I don’t wish to be a party pooper, or to dampen any enjoyment during the holiday/Christmas party season, however, it is easy to  damage your own reputation, personal brand or company name with seasonal ‘High jinks’! Before you accuse me of being boring, I’ve made mistakes myself in the past, and don’t want anyone else making the same mistakes.

My husband is at a dinner this evening, hosted by a professional organisation he is a member of. He has already said he’ll have a couple of drinks but that some of his colleagues and friends drink an awful lot. Chances are no one will mind, but there is always a possibility that someone – even innocently – might say “xxx always drinks loads”, or get known as a drinker. It’s not a good personal brand to have.

Essentially, you have to approach these events – even though they are Christmas parties and less formal, as work. Of course they are fun, and you should have fun, but don’t fall into the trap of letting yourself, your brand or your company, down.

Here are my top tips:

  1. Don’t drink too much. Mix any drink with a soft drink. Eat plenty before to absorb the alcohol.
  2. For goodness sake don’t get so drunk you are sick; perform a David Brent type dance; sing at the top of your voice out of tune and other cringeworthy activities.
  3. Be grateful for being invited and remember you are a guest at someone else’s party. Don’t grab food or drink (I’ve seen this happen and the look of horror on the host’s face)….
  4. Remember this is a social event; guests have been invited to thank them for their custom, to schmooze, and even to thank their suppliers. Don’t be tempted to do a hard sell, or practice your 1 minute ‘elevator pitch’. If you hear a possible lead or business opportunity, don’t dive in with your pitch, but quietly say, could I have a word tomorrow and follow up.

Have a great time with these parties, and remember, the parties you have with your friends and your own team are the ones to let your hair down at!

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About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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