While you are out celebrating the end of 2014 and the invigorating rush of the upcoming year, don’t forget to keep your radar up for great networking opportunities. However, walking into a holiday gathering with the sole purpose of finding potential employment may mark you as the party dud. That’s why we want to provide you with a few tips and tricks to network “under the radar” at this year’s holiday festivities.
Talk less. Listen more. It doesn’t take a sleuth to learn things about people’s professional lives through casual conversation. Ask open ended questions that allow you to learn about the people you encounter, then listen for cues to weigh in.
Networking is about building relationships. Get personal, but not too personal. Inquire about family life and personal interests. You never know who you will share hobbies, goals, or personal experiences with. Just remember to not over share.
Avoid controversial topics such as politics, religion, and other hot button issues that may put you on shaky ground with new connections. You never know when being too opinionated or too passive on a topic could kill your chances for a great opportunity.
Keeping in mind that you are at a social event and not a convention, carry business cards in a hidden pocket or bag. However, be mindful not to dispense them at random. Instead, only wield those bad boys when the time is right. Having a business card on hand at a holiday party shows that you are business savvy while being social.
Just because the party is over doesn’t mean you’re done networking. Stay in touch with those connections you made to stay fresh in their minds. Chances are good that anyone worth networking with made several connections over the holidays and will forget those who don’t make the effort to reconnect.