By Emily Moorhead
Holiday parties can be a great opportunity for inventors and entrepreneurs to network and interact with each other and other individuals. Whether you’re attending a “professionals only” holiday happy hour or a small get together hosted by friends, you’ll never know who you might run into. If you’re excited to network this holiday season, take a look at these tips on how to mingle and talk about your invention.
The first step to meeting new connections is to say yes to the holiday parties you get invited to. There’s no way to meet new people unless you go! It is definitely a busy time of year and the comfort of your couch and Netflix may look warm and cozy, but resist temptation and get your party on. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
Dress for Success
Many holiday parties are themed. Ugly sweater, winter wonderland, and black tie are common themes for holiday parties. Nothing says party pooper like ignoring a fun dress code, so make sure that you are fitting in with the theme of the event and participating in all activities. Your attire can also serve as a conversation starter when someone needs to know where you got those silly antler headbands.
Even though you’re there to enjoy yourself, you can also have goals for the party. Maybe you want to meet 3 viable business connections or deliver your best pitch to at least 2 people. Whatever your goal is, make sure it is realistic and that you’re able to achieve or surpass it.
Even if you’re arriving with your posse, you should make an effort to branch out and meet new people. When speaking with new acquaintances, take time to get to know people before talking about business.
Get an Introduction
Utilize your existing connections by asking for an introduction to the hot shot in the corner talking up his business. It’s perfectly acceptable to walk in cold and acquaint yourself, but it’s so much better to have a mutual friend introduce you two. You seem more legitimate, especially if your friend mentions that you are an inventor instead of having to do it yourself.
Hang Out Near the Food
If you’re having trouble finding people to chat with, hang out near the most popular place in the venue – the food table! Many people will pass by this area through the night, and the high traffic will allow you to meet different people. Just make sure you’re not trying to start a discussion while someone has an hors d'oeuvres in their mouth, however.
Be Smart with Your Cards
Business cards are a great way to exchange information, but they only truly work if both parties are willing. Don’t be overzealous with your business cards, especially at a holiday party. Only hand out cards if someone asks for them. Otherwise, your behavior may seem a little off-putting. When you collect a card, make sure to write a note on it when you get home to help you remember the person. You can write down the date and name of the event you met at, as well as any snippets of important conversation you remember. This way, when you reach out to them later, you can make the message more personal.
Say Thank You and Follow Up
When it’s time to move on from a conversation, be sure to thank your new connection and give them your warmest wishes. Being pleasant and polite will leave them with fond memories of you. After 3-4 days, be sure to follow up with an email. Using the business card you collected from them, remind them of who you are, how you met, and any important business matters you may have discussed.
The most important thing to remember during a holiday party is to have fun! If you’re enjoying yourself, your energy will radiate in your face and your friendliness will inspire others to start conversation with you. Remember to smile, join in on games or dancing, and be an excellent guest.
By following these tips, you’re prepared to have a fun, fruitful, and friendly holiday party. Good luck networking and meeting new connections this holiday season!