Take heed, for the holiday season and associated festivities are just about to get started. It seems a bit surreal for it is only October but invitations for office holiday parties are hitting the email inboxes now, months in advance, and the calendars are filling up with dates galore.
Some companies are playing it smart and are booking their events for early November. Others are holding off until January when things always quiet down and the fevered pace slacks off just a bit. Regardless, you can expect to be invited to more parties than you probably have the time and energy to attend.
And sure, parties are fun, but do you really need to go to all of them? The answer is probably not and just as you are surely selective in which networking events to attend, so too should you exercise some discretion when picking your holiday parties.
Here are some things to consider BEFORE you send back that positive RSVP:
• Ask yourself if this party is a must attend. It’s pretty much mandatory that you attend the party when the invitation comes from a client, a high level prospect or even one of your top referral sources. Other than your employees (of course) these folks are the lifeblood of your business.
• Will this party be attended by lots of individuals and companies that have been on your radar screen for years and with whom you would love to connect? If so this party provides you with a very time efficient way to make their acquaintance.
• There are some parties and events where your very absence could start rumors. If you think your absence can be interpreted negatively then make it a point to attend even if just for a short time.
• Convenience is critical. If the party is not mandatory (see above) and you know that you will cause some upheaval at home or be time-crunched at work if you attend, then the sensible decision would be to skip the party!
Bottom-line “what’s in it for you” if you attend this party? Do you see a clear benefit and value? If the answer is no then you might want to put this invitation aside. Of course, if you are going just because you expect to have a good time, well, that’s perfectly fine. In all cases, enjoy!
PS Here’s a great substitute for some of those big parties. Schedule some small dinners with 4-6 people where you will have the time and intimacy for substantive conversations and perhaps even a more meaningful outcome.
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