This season you will encounter the usual personality types at the various holiday gatherings you attend: the Narcissist who subjects you to a merciless monologue about himself; the Complainer who can’t believe that the host chose this restaurant for the holiday party venue… (I mean, the chicken skewers aren’t even organic); the Interrogator who wants to know why you don’t have more children at your age; the Pollyanna who just loooooves Christmas and never seems to have any problems in their life; and the Schmoozer whose mission is to collect as many business cards in as little time as possible. That’s not to say you won’t have enjoyable conversations with old friends and maybe make a few new ones, but with all of the social navigating that comes with holiday parties, you may find that you do little more than flit from one person to the next, exchange a few niceties, and leave the party without any meaningful business result.
Business result. At a holiday party. Yup, I just said that.
Don’t let yourself off the hook just because Bing Crosby is playing in the background. Approach this opportunity as you would any other business development gathering by following these best practices:
Request the attendee list in advance
Identify at least two attendees with business potential for your practice
Contact them via email or LinkedIn and let them know that you look forward to connecting at the party
Seek them out at the event (if you can’t find them, ask the registration desk to help you locate them)
Get to know them at the party
Don’t worry—having a clear business agenda won’t make the party any less enjoyable. The punch is spiked, the mood is festive, and the people are of good cheer. If anything, the season’s ambiance will lend itself to a more meaningful interaction than otherwise. And either way, you will have mixed some proactive business into your partying pleasure.