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From accepting your office holiday party invitation to making the most of your connections, the holidays offer amazing opportunities for professional networking.
It’s the holiday season, which should mean lots of fun, joy, laughter, and office holiday parties right around the corner. Yet, a survey by human resources software provider TriNet found that a large majority of employees would happily trade their employer’s holiday party for other perks, like cash bonuses or extra personal time off. If you fall into this category, you might consider taking a different perspective and utilizing holiday gatherings as a way to network with co-workers, especially those you don’t know all that well. Plus, if you play your cards right, holiday parties could help advance your career. To get you into the spirit, here are some networking tips to make the most out of your office holiday party.
Accept the invitation
You’ve probably heard about the power of saying yes. In this situation, it rings true. When you get invited to a holiday gathering, whether it’s a department happy hour, the company holiday party, or even dinner at your spouse’s boss’s place, just go for it.
Your brain might immediately think about all of the reasons why you don’t want to do it, but stop and think about the good possibilities. The best way to find new connections — and strengthen your current ones — is to get out and spend time with them in an informal setting. Saying yes is just the first step.
Be prepared with a game plan
Once you let it sink in that your company holiday party could be a great way to network and advance your career, give some thought as to your plan of action.
Will you take a date?
Who will you attempt to speak to?
How many business cards will you take?
How will you take notes discretely if you desire to do so?
Don’t fret — all of these questions are addressed in the following tips.
When doing B2B marketing, many business owners and sales reps tend to fall back on the same old approaches. They focus on the same places and methods for doing networking and finding new prospective clients. These include: trade shows, industry associations, and formal networking events. All of these conventional networking methods make some sense. After all, sometimes there’s no substitute for having a presence on the floor at your industry’s biggest annual convention, or pressing the flesh in person at a local business networking function. But if you want to boost your B2B marketing results, you need to be creative about where you do your networking.
Unconventional B2B Networking Spots
Here are a few unexpected and unconventional places where you should try to do some B2B networking to find your next new prospective client:
Sometimes you can find new clients by volunteering at a nonprofit – not because you’re there to sell or to find new clients, but because you’re doing something that you care about, and you often will meet new people who are open to making new connections. This is a big reason why many business people love to serve on nonprofit boards – but even if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to be a board member, you can often do great networking just by being a volunteer and being an active member of a local nonprofit group. Working hard on a good cause is a great way to meet like-minded people – and many of these other professionals will potentially be open to talking with you about your business. Doing good deeds in your community can also lead to good leads for your company!
If you are really serious about pushing your business forward and developing new ideas that help deliver a better service to customers, then joining a network group where you meet like-minded people is absolutely essential. Of course, you can now do this online with social media platforms such as LinkedIn but there really is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and the chance to build long lasting friendships and associations.
Check out our 10 Benefits of Joining a Networking Group:
Business development: The big reason for joining a networking group is to develop your business and find new ways of connecting. It is invaluable for finding out what is happening within your industry and providing new ideas for the future expansion of your core business.
Peer interaction: It can sometimes seem a lonely business running a company and mixing with others who are on the same wavelength offers much needed support and encouragement. You’ll always be able to find someone who has gone through the same thing as you and who will be able to offer a fresh viewpoint and some excellent advice.
Business advice: Most networking groups usually consist of a mix of new and experienced entrepreneurs which means you get access to a whole range of advice. You will be able to pick the best advice for your business and have more chance of success both now and in the future.
Collaborative working: Networking is all about building valuable relationships and you may well find yourself working with a number of businesses you come across in a group. That doesn’t just mean providing your service to them but also developing new and interesting ways of doing business that could involve new products and the sharing of services