Christmas is upon us once again, and it's a great time to use the season's parties and get-togethers, whether business or social, to network.
"While Christmas parties may not be as extravagant this year, any event is an opportunity to make contacts and further your career," said expert networker and renowned 'Charisma Coach' Olivia Fox Cabane. "Networking is more than just who you know; it's a process you can master."
"Many of us have an inherent fear of networking. We have been taught growing up not to talk to strangers, and to wait to be properly introduced before making contact. As adults, many of us are still waiting."
In the spirit of giving Ms Fox Cabane offers 10 tips that will make you feel more confident when networking at any event this Christmas season:
1.Find out everything you can about those who will be attending: Where are they from? What do they do? What are their interests? This is what you can talk to them about.
2.Wear something that people can talk about; anything that will draw attention and inspire people to approach you. What do you have that would be a good conversation starter?
3.Read a couple of mainstream newspapers just before the event so that you can use the headlines as icebreakers. The more conversation fuel you have, the easier it will be to get a conversation going.
4.Get there early: This gives you the opportunity to warm up slowly as the other guests gradually arrive.
5.Remember in detail the accomplishment you're most proud of just before entering the room. The memory will flood your system with endorphins, which is an instant confidence booster.
6.Breathe! When feeling self-conscious, people often draw short, shallow breaths. Instead, focus on taking deep breaths, which have an instant calming and grounding effect.
7.Pretend that you're the host of the party: it boosts your self-confidence because it makes the event your event. Better yet, volunteer to be on the greeting committee if you can.
8.Position yourself around the buffet: it makes for easy conversations, and when people eat, their endorphin levels rise, which puts them in a better mood, increasing the chance that they'll like you better.
9.Approach people standing alone: they're probably feeling awkward and lonely and will be grateful to you for saving them from anonymity.
10.Compliment them on something they're wearing, and then ask an open-ended question about it. It's one of the most effective icebreakers around. About Olivia Fox Cabane
Olivia Fox Cabane, or "The Charisma Coach," has lectured on the topic at Harvard, Yale, MIT and the United Nations.A former legal counsel, Olivia has worked with one of the world's largest law firms as well as a Fortune 500 company.
Her education includes three Master's degrees in French, German and European Business Law. Olivia has both French and American nationalities; has lived and worked in 7 countries, and is fluent in 41/2 languages (her Mandarin stinks.)