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Celebrate the Season with PR and Marketing Holiday Parties

16407127_sReady to network? Register now for these holiday events. You’ll meet some interesting people.  Here are some sure bets…

Wednesday, December 4

The One Party

RoseBar, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Tonight is the local PR/Advertising industry’s biggest holiday bash, The One Party.  The multi-sponsored party (Capitol Communicator, DC Ad Club, PRSA-NCC, AMADC, etc.) typically draws about 200 people.

Tips: It’s loud and the drink lines are long, and no one ever dances, but it’s the ad community’s event to see and be seen, and admission includes two drinks and appetizer.  A mix of ages and backgrounds, this event skews to 20s and 30s and the advertising/creative set.  Almost everyone behaves.  Bring cards, but this one’s mostly for the photo-ops.  Register for the event ($55/60).

Tuesday, December 10

Holiday Network-and-Lunch

Clyde’s – Chevy Chase, 12 Noon – 1:30 p.m. Fletcher Prince organizes this small group business networking event. The conversation is casual and everyone pays their own way ($15 to $20).

Tips: Dress is business casual. Expect to meet a diverse group of six to twelve business owners and PR professionals, as well as yours truly.

PRSA-NCC Holiday Party

Carmine’s, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Join the National Capital Chapter of the PRSA for holiday networking, drinks and Italian hors d’oeuvres in Washington, DC.

Tips: Network with a suited and mature crowd of about 50 PR professionals who know each other well.  There are chapter volunteer award announcements.  Better for chapter insiders. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots.  Register today.

Tuesday, December 17

WWPR Holiday Party

Tonic Restaurant, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Join Washington Women in Public Relations for their Holiday Party in Washington, DC  The specialty of this Foggy Bottom restaurant is comfort food, including tots with a variety of sauces. All guests will leave with a party favor from WWPR and an early release of the 2014 schedule of events. Raffle proceeds benefit WWPR’s pro bono client, FLOW–Financial Literacy Organization for Women and Girls.

Tips: Both men and women attend these events, but the majority are fashionably attired, well-heeled female PR pros in their 20s and 30s, as well as a few seasoned pros with great connections.  A mannerly bunch, and a friendly crowd to newbies.

Register today for The One Party on December 7

Wednesday, December 7, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  The One Party, $50 plus $15 for valet parking, Josephine’s Lounge, 1008 Vermont Avenue, Washington, DC (corner of K and Vermont)

What you get for your $50: 2 rail drinks or wine and heavy hors d’oervres.  The food is plentiful and you can make dinner out of it.

Networking potential: This party is the DC event of the year to see and be seen.  About 200 people from the Twitter crowd.

What to expect: This popular event  draws both advertising and public relations folks in the 20-3o’s age range, with about 20% older.  The interior is dark (so watch your feet) and the decor is hip and there is the ubiquitous pulsating house music.   You will see many familiar faces here from Capitol Communicator, the DC Ad Club, IABC-DC and PRSA-NCC.  There are some low couches and tables for seating, and a dance floor (Although no one ever dances! And how fun would that be?)

What to wear: People go after work and almost all the women wore black.  Because some of the attendees are from the creative professions, and more young people go to this party, you’ll see some jeans and some flair.  Men will want to wear suits and ties — look sharp.  Women wore traditional business suits and black dresses with sleeves.  Nothing too out of the box.  It was a little chilly, so a jacket or dressy cardigan for ladies would be right.  If you want to stand out, try wearing a great color and some knockout heels.  Or take a swing around the pole 🙂

Should you go?  There’s not very much holiday in this holiday party — there aren’t any decorations or a Christmas tree or seasonal music or anything like that.  It is noisy and crowded but if you like clubs (where no one dances) and you know a lot of folks, you’ll have a good time.  P.S. Don’t even think about finding a parking space on the street.  There are none, and most of the garages in the area close.  Just take Metro or give your car to the valet.

Partying…With a Purpose (plus videos!)


Mary Fletcher Jones with PR buddies at The One Party (photo: Metromix)

David and I have been hitting the holiday parties this week (and probably next week, as well).  This week, we networked and socialized at The One Party and the IPRA Holiday Luncheon.

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…


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