Partying…With a Purpose (plus videos!)
Posted by Mary Fletcher Jones
Still to come: PRSA-NCC’s Holiday Celebration (Public Relations Society of America, National Capital Chapter) on Monday, December 13, the WWPR Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 14 (Washington Women in Public Relations), The Social Media Club of DC Happy Hour (with karaoke!) on Wednesday, December 15, and of course, the Fletcher Prince Holiday Open House on December 22.
Networking at holiday parties is a fun and funny thing. First of all, the parties are often quite crowded and loud. You see so many people you want to talk to, but you can often do only quick hits. You would think that nothing of any business use would happen, or that networking with your colleagues (which some people might call competitors) makes less sense than networking in your own industry. With the costs involved, you might be tempted to skip it (often around $50 a piece, plus sitters, clothes, and transportation).
But that would be a big mistake. It would be a big mistake for any business owneror manager, regardless of their industry to pass on these events.
Because, in my experience, in addition to just the fun part of connecting, the parties are really quite a useful investment, so it’s quite important to put in an appearance. I have obtained a few clients as a result of connections I made at these events.
What’s key to these events? Is it having an elevator speech all ready? No, not really. The important thing is to bring a big smile for pictures, because they will published. Everywhere. Facebook. Industry blogs.
The other thing I would emphasize (which I can always improve on) is being a good listener. You don’t really have to talk about your business at all IF you have done your homework all year! And by that, you have dedicated sufficient time to making your brand visible and memorable. And by that I mean,
- You have a Facebook Page that you update frequently.
- You have YouTube video.
- You have an outstanding website/blog.
- You commented on other blogs of colleagues.
- You at least have a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn.
- You took pictures all year round, and talked about your business.
If you have done those things all year, you can relax at the holiday party and listen to other people talk about their business…or their kids…or the appetizers. Which of course, makes you a much more desirable companion at a party or luncheon. Sometimes the way to get business for your business is not to talk much about your business! 🙂 Listening is good.
It may seem superficial, but it may also help to wear something that stands out, so people remember you. I’m not talking about reindeer antlers! But at a crowded event, you may not get a chance to speak to everyone, and you do want people to remember you were there. From the One Party, I remember Paul Dunning in his black velvet jacket and Eric Frost in a beautiful suit. I know both of them well, but they looked outstanding that night. And at the IPRA party, Sandra Remey wore this beautiful winter white suit. It was unexpected and gorgeous on her, which made her memorable at the luncheon. Image makes an impression! Whatever you do, don’t wear a little black dress to these things (especially if you are a guy, that just wouldn’t look right).
What’s the must-have accessory (besides a cool business card) for a holiday event? A CAMERA. Everybody kills themselves to look good and almost no one brings a camera. You should take pictures and especially track down any professional photographer at these events and BEG them to take your picture! I cannot tell you how much my online photos have opened doors for me. Also if you are feeling shy, or you feel like you have no one to talk to (I get shyness attacks all the times), then you can whip out your camera and start taking pictures of everything. You are never bored with a camera.
One last tip, have fun 🙂
Here are some highlights from The One Party we attended this week…