Step away from the eggnog!
Networking is about getting to know people, and December is the easiest month to meet people.
“But Andy, aren’t people distracted…”
Yes! Yes they are!
People aren’t thinking about work.
Which is why it’s such a good time to get to know them.
“But Andy, my schedule is so busy…”
Are you one of those people who then also complains when January is slow?
Here’s the secret:
The best way to hit the ground running in January is to meet lots of people in December.
But please don’t just shove your business cards in your pocket and start spewing your Elevator Pitch everywhere. Instead…
1. Ask questions
This is the time of year when everyone has something going on outside of work.
Forget about work and start some natural and engaging conversations:
“What are you up to for the holidays?”
“Is this a busy time of year for you?”
“How many parties are you going to this weekend?”
2. Be friendly
The key to being friendly is to keep the conversation going.
And the best way to keep the conversation going is to follow up.
No, no, no. Not by suggesting you connect on LinkedIn.
I’m talking about following up during the conversation.
Ask more questions.
But as a friend, not an interrogator.
Ask open-ended questions about something they just said.
“How is Disney World at Christmas?”
“Where else do you like to ski?”
“How did your son get started playing soccer?”
3. Use 7 Words
I know, I know.
At some point in December, at some party, when you least expect it, and especially when you’re balancing an appetizer plate in one hand and a wine
bottle glass in the other…
Some well meaning person will approach you, look meaningfully into your eyes, glance backwards over one shoulder, then the other, then lean in close and ask you, in barely more than a whisper:
“So, what do you do?”
Here’s where the magic happens, folks!
You’re not going to get a client there on the spot.
But you are going to respond with just 7 words.
When chosen well, those 7 words, whether weeks, months or even years later, will cause that person to pause a conversation, as a memory stirs, and then suggest that the person in front of them should talk to you.
I love it when people ask me what I do, because my 7 word answer sows the seeds for future opportunities.