The Xmas Season’s Networking Parties … Kissing Frogs?

As Christmas approaches the invites to corporate parties flood in. Opportunities to network is the name of the game. Or is it the worst way to spend an evening? You feel you need to attend but are scared, hang onto the wall, talk to a few inappropriate people and come away horribly disappointed.

Here are 12 pointers to help you improve radically:

1. Know why you’re there – Is it for the social side, to develop sales or to raise your profile. Then ask the question “Can I achieve that here?”

2. Set low expectations – aim to get NO MORE THAN 2 business cards or useful / relevant contacts

3. Treat every interaction as a “Conversation of Possibilities” – Go with an open mind, not a targeted sales pitch.

4. Check seating plan – Sod’s Law of Networking. If there a dinner, you are likely to be sitting next to the person you spend time talking to prior to the dinner, wasting an opportunity.

5. Leave residual energy – Give more than you take. Good Karma as @guykawasaki would say

6. Be interested in them – Ask open questions rather than try ans steer the conversation back to you all the time

7. Badge on right lapel – When you shake hands that is where their eyes go

8. Getting rid of someone – Introduce to someone else, or say “I need to move on”

9. If you know nobody in the room – Take your time and look around, look at groups for opening, join but don’t stop the conversation, introduce your self in a FEW SHORT WORDS – make an impression

10. Business cards – If you want them to take your card, ask for theirs

11. Taking notes – Take a pen to write notes on the back of their card

12. Follow-up – do what you said you would. SO FEW PEOPLE DO. This one simple act wil make you stand out.

Enjoy the experience, don’t focus on the results. Finally – you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the princes.

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Ian Gotts is CEO and Chairman of Nimbus Partners, an established and rapidly growing global software company, headquartered in the UK. He is a very experienced senior executive and serial entrepreneur, with a career spanning 25 years. Ian has co-authored a number of books including “Common Approach, Uncommon Results”, published in English and Chinese and in its second edition, "Why Killer Products Don't Sell" and books covering Cloud computing from the perspective of both the prospective buyer, and the software vendor. Having begun his career in 1983 as an engineer for British Rail, Ian then spent 12 years at Accenture (nee Andersen Consulting) specialising in the project management of major business critical IT projects. During this time, he spent two years as an IT Director, seconded to the Department for Social Security (DSS), with a department of over 500 and a budget responsibility of 40 million pounds.