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Some Networking Commandments to Survive the Christmas Networking Season

Thu 15 December 2011

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly’….but not too jolly when it comes to networking festivities.

I was reading an article via Twitter yesterday, warning online shoppers not to ‘drink and click’ and it got me thinking. Christmas parties provide us with some great opportunities to network, get back in touch with old connections and catch up with old clients and colleagues. However, these parties often come laden with alcohol and excitement that can turn great networking opportunities pretty ugly.

Without sounding too ‘bah humbug!’ about the whole thing, I thought I’d write down my top 5 Christmas Networking Commandments that might help you avoid a networking nightmare.

Thou Shalt Know Thy Limits

We wouldn’t drink and drive, but what about drinking and networking.  Too much alcohol can generate some Dutch courage that, in a business environment, it may be better to be without.

People will remember you as the ‘one that got plastered’ – so be responsible and know your limits. Remember, being the ‘drunk one’ isn’t the greatest picture you should be painting in a networking group where you’re looking to grow relationships, credibility and trust.  Remember these people might want to do business with you in the future.

Thou Shan’t be too Tactile

Whilst a party is far more casual than a board room, there is a line when it comes to being too over familiar with people. It’s fine when it’s your oldest or bestest friend, but someone you’ve just been introduced to may not appreciate you touching their shoulder affectionately every five minutes. Or kissing and hugging (yes this does happen). This applies especially if you’re at an office Christmas party where wires and implications can get crossed amongst the champagne and crackers. 

Thou wilst be wary of Mistletoe

Unless you work in the same office as your partner…it’s probably advisable to steer well clear of Mistletoe. Even then, you don’t want to get caught in the act by a potential client! Remember that these people will remember this about you in August!

Thou Shall Leave Rudolph Behind

This is more of a general rule than just a networking one – remember that Bridget Jones scene where Colin Firth arrives to the party in a Rudolph woolly jumper?  This can say ‘hey I’m super confident and can get away with wearing anything – but it can also look a bit out of context in a networking scenario. 

Thou Won’t Over Sell  

Having said all of the above – remember that Christmas is supposed to be fun and joyful. If you walk around every party that you’re invited to and obviously network, you’ll turn people off. First and foremost you are there to celebrate the season and enjoy yourself, just make sure that in the meanwhile you’re not breaking the above commandments.

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