Why You Should Say Yes to Those Holiday Party Invitations
This time of year many of us experience some mix of angst and overwhelm when we receive invitations to attend yet another holiday party. If you are an introvert, like me (I know this comes as a surprise to anyone who has heard me speak or lead workshops), and find such large group social interactions a bit stressful, here is my advice: Say, yes!
Many of you know that the first lesson of improvisation is to say, “yes, and . . .” This means accepting every offer and agreeing to build on it because every invitation likely holds an unexpected opportunity.
Whether the decision to go feels exciting or laborious, remember that a holiday party is a new opportunity to strengthen and engage your Relational Web and you should take it!
A study of 180 teams at google found that the most productive employees intentionally build the largest networks. How? By regularly rotating their dining partners!
Holiday parties are a unique opportunity to maintain and create relationships because they are a natural time to connect, share resources and learn about others. At a recent HR association holiday party, I met a Boston University alum, my undergrad alma mater, and rediscovered a whole new opportunity for expanding my Relational Web via the alumni network.
In the spirit of saying, “Yes and…”
Here are six steps to building your Relational Web this season:
- Be Intentional – Setting down the hot cocoa and warm blanket to go to a holiday party shows you are being intentional about building your relationships. Do you have some gaps in your Relational Web that need filling in? Maybe you are looking for an executive coach to recommend to a client or additional marketing resources. Remember, those that are successful don’t leave their agility to chance.
- Reconnect – Holiday parties provide a casual atmosphere to reconnect with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Start by seeking out familiar faces and find out what they are most proud of or excited about in their work or other areas of their life this past year. This will set the stage for you to expand out of your comfort zone and meet new people.
- Extend Your Reach – If you started with a familiar face, ask them who they think you should meet to expand and diversify your Relational Web, or even better, who else might benefit from connecting to others in your network. Be bold and warmly, introduce yourself to those you don’t know. My experience is that most people are relieved that someone new is joining their conversation, or rescuing them from standing solo by the miniature quiche table.
- Share Your Passion, then Listen – Be enthusiastic. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious and will open up the conversation. Some of my favorite non-work topics are skiing (though be careful of showing too much interest!), recent travel adventures and the latest developments in arts and culture. Be sure your enthusiasm doesn’t hi-jack the conversation. Share just enough to give others a chance to share theirs.
- Exchange Ideas – Not all resources are tangible. Festive settings offer a unique opportunity for free-flowing dialogue. Find out what others are excited about or working on and offer to connect them to skills, knowledge, talent and other resources in your Relational Web.
- Remember to Follow Up – Did you thank the host or organizer, or follow up with your new connections with the promised link to an article you mentioned or that tour guide from your recent trip to Athens? Establishing yourself as a reliable resource is the first step to expanding your own resources.
Remember, the time to weave your web of skills, knowledge, talent, and resources is NOT when the unexpected challenge or opportunity hits, but day in and day out. Those upcoming holiday parties are ready-made for this. Say, “Yes!” and start weaving!
Are you looking for more ways to improve your Agility? Take the complimentary Agility Shift Inventory Today!
The Agility Shift Inventory (ASI) offers individual leaders, teams and entire organizations an opportunity to become more aware of the state of agility in their current context. This awareness is the first step in beginning a generative conversation and receiving guidance about where your energy and resources will be most effectively spent to improve business performance.