12 Days of Christmas Networking

1.  On the first party of Christmas Networking my true love gave to me . . . The Office Party Opp-or-tunity!

Yes, you might dread the pressure (or potential boredom) of making chit chat with your sweetie’s office mates and boss’ wife.  But grab (one, no more than two) glasses of bubbly & do it anyway, because it’s a room full of NEW people with all sorts of unopened gifts – i.e. opportunities for real life connections with people that know of, or know someone that knows.. a job opening.. a potential project collaboration partner.

2.  Have Two Turtle Dove (chocolate) bar cookies at the dessert table, and strike up a conversation with, well, whoever shares you sweet tooth!  Hey, at least you immediately have something in common, how good the sweets are at this party . . . all we need sometimes is the simplest of openers to get the conversation started!

3.  Don’t be a (French) Hen.. what I’m stretching this to mean is this – make sure you don’t end up in the corner with a gaggle of gossipy geese (or ganders) that just want to criticize someone’s dress choice or who’s had a few too many. Only spread holiday cheer, not jeer!  Jingle jingle, get out there & mingle!

4.  Calling Words.. After the party sometime, make an old-fashioned follow up phone call to reconnect, and perhaps continue the conversation.  When you call, the perfect ice breaking words are “Hi, it’s Jennifer from the cookie exchange; it was so great to talk with you at Mary’s”

5.  Golden Rings.. Want your phone to start buzzing with follow up calls?  Make sure you have at the ready:  your 10 second version of your 60-second “advert” ” (for the warm up intro . . . if the listener shows interest, you’ll have the ultra casual delivery of the 60 second version of who you are (brand) and what you’re looking for (job, connections for your current job, etc.) ready to share over a slice of Christmas cake.  Also have a business card or networking card if you’re currently looking for your next career move ready to exchange later.

6. No Geese a Laying!  Don’t make the ‘fowl’ move of sitting in the same spot all night waiting for something to happen.  Gracefully jump in to the water, or at least get your feet wet.

7.  Swans a Swimming.. circulate, articulate, why you’re great, your best trait, and it must be fate, thanks to your mate, we’ve now met and any rate, we must set a date to communicate, and oh, wait, it’s getting late.. so take that bait and head for the exit gate.. In other words..

8.  Don’t be a Milking Maid..  which means remember when to naturally, gracefully move on. Try not to milk the new contact for all they’re worth right there in front of the veggie tray.
Make a connection, a genuine one, establish a way to reconnect, either right then, or, make sure you ‘recirculate’ back before you and they leave the party to offer and ask for a business card or some plan to meet up at another time.  And then, exit stage left, the punch bowl is calling your name.

9.  Or maybe it’s time to join the Ladies Dancing!  Of course the party’s not all about business – enjoy yourself, have fun!  And..

10.  BE fun!  Be a Lord a’ Leaping – into whatever’s going on.  Try your hand at a round of darts, give karaoke a go, or even, yes, participate in the Macarena. Why not? It’s all in good fun!

Be a joiner, be a doer, it makes you more approachable, likeable, and a good sport.  As long as it’s within reasonable, established, accepted social norms of office/party behaviour, it will make you more memorable, in a good way, to the people you connected with.
11. Pipe in, Piper!  Make sure you chime in as you can, adding something absolutely fascinating of course . . .  or, at least relevant and either a) mildly interesting, b) funny, or both (if you can swing it!) to whatever conversation you happen upon.Some people like to read the paper or peruse Twitter or other online sources of timely conversation starters beforehand.  Speaking of which, I talk about how to use social media as a way to network for your career and/or job search in my newsletter,
It’s also a way to reconnect with party-goers after you’ve all gone home, too.  Look through your mutual friend’s Facebook friends list & “friend request” them (or similar actions on Twitter, or LinkedIn).  I like to include a brief intro/reminder note when I do this: “Hi Chris, great to meet you at Cindy’s Silly Santa White Elephant exchange last Saturday, looking forward to meeting up for our 121!”


And on the twelfth day of Christmas Networking, my true love’s party gave to me..

12. Drummers Drumming
, and other common interests.  Everyone loves music, or Guitar Hero.  It’s easy to figure out safe topics to find some common interest – comment on the music, for example. “This song reminds me of the concert I saw at (local venue) in the late 90’s – do you like (band, type of music, that venue, whatever)?
Same thing works at the buffet table, “Do you know who brought this lemon tart?  I’d love the recipe, especially for my son’s school’s bake sale.’ (now you have established you have kids, always a conversation opener, too!)
Thanks to http://resumeconfidence.com/12-days-of-christmas-networking