This article was first published in December 2015, but we love the information it has and think it offers timeless advice. Enjoy!
Christmas cocktail chatter often sounds like the following.
Q: “What’s new with you?”
A: “Nothing much, same old, same old…”
Both parties move on. Another great opportunity to tell your story missed.
Over 70% of all career and job opportunities come from friends and family referrals. Referrals only happen if the people around you know what you do and how well you do it. It’s up to you to let them know in a language they can understand…and in an interesting sort of way.
The Holidays are a great time to do a little personal soft marketing. While the conventional wisdom is that work slows during the holiday season and that people don’t interview or get hired at this time of the year, the reality is much different than that. Holiday time is a great time to mix, mingle, and set yourself up for further success in the new year.
The Short List
Here’s my short list of ways to further your career presence at Christmas.
1. Show Up
Go to the special events and parties you’ve been invited to. Holiday events and parties are once-a-year invitations to gather, meet and greet. Others at the party expect to meet and greet widely, and so should you. If it’s a business or company Christmas party, it’s an opportune time to connect and thank those who put on the event and to introduce yourself to the people you’ve heard about but not yet met.
You’ve got to show up at the party to be seen, so go!
2. Think Ahead
Think ahead. Decide before you begin your party circuit the one or two interesting career achievements of the year that you’d like to share. What have you done that’s interesting in the last day, week, month, or year? What was your one thing that was spectacular? How can you describe and talk about that achievement? What is new with you?
The answer “nothing much” is forgettable and doesn’t ever lead to a stronger connection between two people. You have the opportunity to talk and connect with many people at Holiday time, so let’s be memorable…in a good way.
3. Keep it Short
Keep your story short. A one-sentence headline is enough. Brevity invites the person listening to ask a question and participate in a conversation and not a monologue. The added bonus is that they may remember what you had to say. Your words can be spontaneous, but the ideas behind them don’t have to be.
4. Target Three
Christmas parties and events are perfect places to talk to the very people you don’t see once a day or even once a month. Make a point to introduce yourself to 3 people you don’t know, and make sure to reintroduce yourself to 3 people you don’t see very often. Tell them about what you’ve been doing and encourage them to tell you about their successes of the year.
Most people won’t be as prepared as you…so help them out. Ask them what was special this year.
5. Go Home
Not everybody draws joy and strength from mixing and mingling all night. Fine! You don’t have to close the place down. Make your connections, enjoy the fellowship, say your goodbyes to the host, and go home.
And when you get home, don’t forget the thank you note to the host and the follow-up notes for the people you met at the event.
After the Party
All of us have a few people who have been special to us at work and throughout our careers. These special people may be at the same company we are…or they may not. They may be past customers or current. They may be people we return to over and over for advice and counsel. Sometimes, they are silent partners we return to by revisiting their words of wisdom…when we need it. The Holiday Season is a great time to reach out to them to say hello, to ask for nothing, and to have them know you are thinking about them.