Referrals. Opportunities. Connections. Advice. That’s only a few reasons why people invest their time into networking. During Christmas Mixer, around 80 AmCham members from different business areas decided to do so. Did they reach their networking goals and went home with pockets full of business cards? Or it didn’t go that well? Read further to find their answers, PHOTOGALLERY and mainly - useful networking tips for the future.
„I am glad we got to meet at Christmas Mixer! I checked out your website afterwards and I would love the opportunity to connect over coffee…!“ This is what we hope for after every networking event organized by AmCham - lots of new emails with opening as the one written above. But what if it´s hard for you to open up to strangers during social events? What if a small talk doesn’t come easy for you? In that case, things like attending networking events and meeting new people - crucial elements to success in business - can be a little bit intimidating.
Here are some helpful tips that Mr. Jan Valdinger from Change Partnership, an Accredited Advanced Level Coach by the Academy of Executive Coaching in the UK, decided to share with me during the Christmas Mixer:
Some people go to anybody, because they are shy, he said. If you see someone standing alone in the corner, playing with his phone (doing basically the same thing you are doing at that moment), go to him and simply ask: “Do you know anybody here?” or “Have you been to this before?” That´s always a great opening line!
What if there is someone I don´t know personally, but would like to speak with, and he is part of a closed group?
Then you have to be a bit brave and join the group! Squeeze into their “private circle” and ask “Can I put my drink here?” while pointing at their cocktail table. 99% of people would say ´yes´. Then they would look at your business card badge, and suddenly you are having an interesting conversation!
What if the person I just met is really boring?
Some people never stop talking about themselves. For example, me. J You don’t want to be alone during the evening, but you don’t want to get bored to death. Say: “My aim is to bring home at least 10 business cards, so I should move up a bit! Enjoy the evening. Bye!” And this necessarily doesn´t have to be an excuse! I suggest you not to stay too long at one table. The more people you meet, the better!
Which topic should we start with?
It doesn’t matter. But remember to be like Bill Clinton and make people think they are the most interesting people you have even met. Now I am exaggerating, but truly - be present, practice your listening skills and shift your focus to your new acquaintance.
And how about other attendees of Christmas Mixer? Do they have some tips how to network?
I think it´s dangerous to attend networking parties with colleagues as you don´t go there to spend it with people from your work, do you? That’s why I try to get myself out of my comfort zone and I go alone. Karolína Schreiberová, Park Lane International School
For me, a representative of a hotel industry, are networking events a great chance to meet new potential clients interested in events organization. But at the same time I try to have fun while networking, which I think is crucial. Denisa Hladíková, Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague
It might be good to have a look at the attendance list before the event to see who is going to participate and maybe prepare a few topics. Hana Bachárová, Change Partnership
The key to people’s hearts is to donate lots of vouchers for a raffle. Then to speak about the vouchers for a very long time and have even more vouchers in your pockets when networking. :) Matúš Príkazský, Asten Hotels
As you can see challenging yourself might have unexpected and great results. Let´s all agree on taking a small networking challenge next year (a New Year´s networking resolution) and let´s practice together.
To feel the atmosphere of Christmas Mixer once again have a look at the photogallery. Secret Santa. Mulled wine. Christmas stollen. Canapés. Raffle. All this was part of the event.
Big special thanks go to our sponsors:
And to our raffle contributors:
Thank you all for your attendance and support.
Have a wonderful Christmas and we hope to see you all next year during more events organized by AmCham!
(Author: Barbora Staňková)