Guest blogger Ivan Misner PhD, author of the new book Networking Like A Pro (Entrepreneur Press, Second Edition, Nov. 2017), is here to help you survive your office holiday party with a new connection or two.
Ah the office holiday party … Free food, open bar, and a chance to get a glimpse of your company’s most elusive executives letting loose a little. The holiday party is a great time rub elbows with the upper echelons of your company, but, especially in big corporations, it can be hard to make an impression. Here’s how to ‘network up’ and get face time with your busiest bosses that can lead to career opportunities in 2018.
Don’t be a suck up. Executives appreciate knowing their work makes a difference but don’t “puppy-dog lick” them to death. Instead, share a specific story about how their big wins this year helped someone or made a difference in the work you do at the company.
Don’t assume they remember you. In bigger companies, don’t assume executives know about the work you do for them. Always help them out by giving them context on what your role is, “Hi Mr. Jones, It was so exciting to be in charge of our contract with XYZ company this year, my team in the x department had a lot of fun working on that one.”
Do your research. Before the party, find out who you want to talk to and what they’re currently interested in. Ask them what project they’re most excited about working on in 2018 and invite them to tell you about it.
Add value. If you can find a way to add value to their work, you’ll be remembered. For example, I had the opportunity to talk to Richard Branson, I asked him about his latest endeavor and asked if it would be of value if we did a short video interview so that he could share the program with my audience. He loved the idea, and we shot the video for my blog.
Embrace discomfort. When networking with powerful company execs, feeling nervous is normal. Plus, it’s usually a sign that this is the exact person you should be talking to.
Whatever you do, don’t go negative. I know that sounds obvious, but it happens all the time, especially if you’re nervous. Don’t complain about how busy you are, how the bartender messed up your drink, or how bad the traffic is getting to work. You want to be remembered, but not as the person who is always negative.