Year-end is upon us and all types of holiday party invitations come our way. Some parties we dread attending, and the rest we can’t wait for the day to arrive. Before landing at your destination, take the sales approach. Give thought to your best possible outcome. A cheerful attitude will get you through the chaos, and quite possibly future business will be in the forecast.
One fact that most people miss is that business can take place at parties of friends, and personal connections may blossom at business parties. No matter the occasion, wear a big smile and project warmth in your voice.
Observations of what not to do gave way to the following suggestions:
1. Express appreciation for being on the guest list.
If the hosts are not in sight as you enter the premises, find them. If it’s a business party, say something appreciative to the person who made the arrangements.
2. Begin conversations with cheer.
Ask about holiday plans. When you like the response, talk the time to see if you have more in common. Politely end the conversation when you are ready to move on.
3. Observe poor behaviors.
Many times we see people standing in front of the food table devouring everything in sight. It’s a great reminder not to do the same. Take a plate, select your food, and move away from the delicacies so that others may also enjoy.
4. Don’t binge drink and talk at gatherings!
Salespeople are known to have egos and do way too much bragging at functions. During my sales career, I have heard people indicate where they believe future business is coming from. As they boast, they unknowingly reveal the errors they are making. The uncalled for swagger becomes an opportunity for others to seize the business. I’ve also been witness to low-level managers revealing inside company secrets.
Drink little or nothing at all but take careful notes!
The same applies to parties hosted by friends. On occasion, there may be someone who has a keen interest in your work. But should you drink too much and say regrettable things, the opportunity fades before you leave the party.
5. Continue the cheerful networking while attempting to meet most people in the room. At worst case, you will have a few great conversations and add to the merriment. There is always a chance someone is watching you but does not see the opportunity to introduce themselves. After the fact, the same person may ask for a formal introduction from the host. Should a message occur afterward, be gracious and follow-up.
6. Repeat the Thank You as you exit.
Before leaving a party, express appreciation for being included. Share a quick recap of something that stood out, or indicate you enjoyed meeting the other guests. Walk away with a smile, even if the event was painful! Ignoring hosts on your way in, and on the way out, will put a black mark against your name.
7. Replay the time spent in your mind.
Consider the people you enjoyed meeting for the first time, and if follow-up is in order. Think about your observations of what to avoid or include the next time you are a guest or decide to host a party.
8. After the event, send an appropriate e-card thanking the host.
Tasteful humor in a follow-up thank you card will give you a gold star.
All of the above tips apply to any gathering throughout the year. We never know when a new connection will arise for the next best place of employment or a business referral. And you just might make a new friend.
Most of all, do drive safely, and enjoy the spirit of the Season!
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