Networking at Christmas drinks … how do I get the most out of it?

Networking can take place during Christmas drinks or at a client’s New Year’s reception. Because many individuals were working from home this year, these holiday events are ideal occasions to meet new people and make new social contacts. If you want to increase long-term business relationships through networking events then these six tips will help you step by step. By the way, these tips are not only for Christmas-related events. You can also use them when you are invited to attend a local or regional business club.

Busy Christmas Networking event


Tip 1: Take the initiative yourself

If you want to talk to someone you find interesting, you yourself have to approach them. It’s as simple as that. If you are outgoing or extroverted then this is a lot easier. 

Are you struggling to take the initiative yourself? In that case, have someone else introduce you. Often that is the start of a good conversation. Besides, you will have someone who knows you standing next to you.


Tip 2: Prepare your personal introduction.

Meeting new people is like joining a dating program. The first impression counts and you only get a short time to connect with others. 

In other words, think about how you are going to introduce yourself. Be thoughtful about it or you might end up with a bad first impression. Consider in advance what topics you can use to keep the conversation going. Those topics certainly don’t have to be just business. 


Tip 3: Have fun and keep the conversations lighthearted.

A Christmas drink or New Year’s reception is not the place for deep conversations. After all, you may be missing out on other interesting conversations if you let yourself get caught up in a prolonged conversation that you actually want to escape from.

By keeping conversations lighthearted, you retain the freedom to engage with others if desired. However, we do recommend finishing the ongoing conversation neatly first.


Tip 4: Know who is attending!

This is not always possible, unfortunately. But when a guestlist is shared, make use of it. You can identify the right people and prepare yourself. Starting a conversation with someone becomes a lot easier if you refer to something you have read or heard about him or her. 

After all, there is a lot of information online these days, available through LinkedIn, or simply by Googling someone’s name. Do this especially when going to a networking meeting of an entrepreneurial club, as you can often see on the website who is affiliated with it.


Tip 5: Pay attention to attitude, behavior, and appearances.

During in-person networking events you are meeting people face to face. Non-verbal behavior in these situations is therefore a big factor. An attitude where one looks at the ground or looks away does not invite further conversation. 

Concerning appearances, such as clothing style, be yourself, as long as your choice in clothing does not deviate too much from the other guests or from the host’s suggested attire. 


Tip 6: Have a (digital) business card

When you’ve had a valuable conversation, you should be able to reconnect again in the future, when needed.  Traditional business cards help with follow-up contact, of course, but a digital business card helps even more. Let’s be honest, it is new and flashy. 

You can also ask for the other person’s phone number right away, but that may be a little too cheeky. Alternatively, asking to connect online (via LinkedIn) usually gets a positive response. As an online contact, you may  “stick around” longer than the business card that gets discarded or lost.


Our own findings.

Recently, we went to a networking event ourselves. There were around 20 people, only one of whom appeared to fit our target audience. That is perhaps the biggest disadvantage of attending an in-person  networking event – you never know if the  other invitees will be interesting or inspiring for you. 

Even if the other guests aren’t in your target audience, you can still make a positive situation out of the networking event. It’s a great opportunity to try out your personal elevator pitch. You can see and evaluate if what you say resonates with others. Hence, in-person networking is a way to learn from other professionals,  for example, those in the fields of communication or entrepreneurship. For us it is a win-win.