Sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself at a social gathering for your company, another company or friends’ party where fellow clients and colleagues will be present. Instead of feeling like these events are a chore or only survivable by downing a few beers and cracking jokes, treat them as leadership opportunities to build business relationships. Here’s how:
1. Research who will be there.
This will be especially useful if you don’t already know everyone present and if the event is at a clients’ company or they’re hosting. Consider it like a networking opportunity; learn about the organization and their industry, go to the company page and read up on the key people who will be attending.
2. Talk to every person there, at least briefly.
Keep the conversation upbeat and avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable. Steer clear of politics, religion or off-color jokes. It’s all about honest and sincere apprecation.
3. Engage the wallflowers.
There will always be more introvered people in attendance. Make a point to start a conversation with these people, ask them about themselves. Most importantly, be a good listener!