Dear Aunty B,
I’ve got three Christmas lunches this week and I am determined to make an impression.
So far, I’ve spent most Christmas functions either stuck in a corner talking to the most boring person in the room or sitting down checking my phone, pretending that I am important.
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Help me please – I want to be a networking wunderkind, not a useless wallflower.
For starters, put that phone down. Not only does it make you look unapproachable, but it also makes you look like a wanker.
Secondly, get a stack of business cards and a pen and have a distinct strategy. Go up and exchange business cards with someone, talk to them for a period of no more than five minutes, make a note or two on their business card and then find a natural break in the conversation to say, “Great to meet you, I’ve been looking forward to networking here so I’ll hope to catch up with you later on.”
And then walk to the next person and repeat.
Be upfront about your networking intentions, limit conversations good and bad (keep them wanting more!) and get around as much as possible.
In the end, you have to want to do this and you have to know in your head that people don’t bite. The worst that can happen is a few awkward conversations, but your five-minute time limit will ensure they don’t drag on.
Your Aunty B
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