Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

How to Network Around the Holidays

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

In today’s post, Learning & Development partner Linda Taylor shares many helpful tips for creating strong networking connections during the busy Holiday season.

Around this time of year, people willingly (or not so willingly) attend company parties, get together with friends and neighbors and usually spend a day or two with their families.  Many people stress about the pressure to make small talk and socialize, especially when they are attending a function with their spouse or significant other.

Here’s an idea that I came across recently:  “Be more concerned with being interested than being interesting.”  So, immediately, this strategy calls for us to be attentive listeners. Now, that may not be too hard if only you can get people to talk in the first place!  When possible and appropriate, take a quick peek at LinkedIn or Facebook and review the basic facts about someone you know you’ll meet at a party.

For instance, look over their education and former employers so you can say, “Hey, I see you are a Tar Heel, too!” or “So I understand you used to live in Dallas.  What was that like?” As people speak, listen for hints as to their passions.  You may probe further as long as it’s not intrusive.  Later, if you run across an article about something that might interest them, pass it along.  They’ll be flattered that you remembered.

But what if you don’t have access to people’s backgrounds beforehand?  You may inquire of your host and ask for an introduction.  Or simply go up and introduce yourself and ask what their connection is to the host or hostess.  “Hi, I’m Jack, I work with Phoebe in the accounting department over at Widgets International.  How do you know the Baileys?” They’ll likely tell you a story about how they met and you can build on that from there.  It goes without saying that you’ll always want to make sure to speak well of everyone.

A little mingling etiquette:

  • If you are approaching someone standing alone, walk up and put out your hand while introducing yourself and asking for their name.
  • If you are approaching two people talking, be more cautious as they may be holding a private conversation.
  • If you are approaching a group of people, simply slide in on the periphery and say hello to the closest person. Ease into the conversation gently and respectfully.
  • When you need to need to extricate yourself, say “Excuse me…I need to freshen my drink” or “Excuse me…I see an old friend I’d like to greet; it has been a pleasure to meet you.”

Always have a ready supply of non-controversial topics at the ready – positive current events (like what’s happening in your home town, sporting news, a play or movie you would recommend or a funny story about how your GPS took you far from your desired destination.)  Dwelling on negative events creates a poor image and leaves you nowhere to take the conversation from there.  As a last resort, comment about the weather and ask the other person what he/she thinks.

Going back to the beginning:  the reason so many people dread socializing and small talk is that they are worried about being witty and impressive.  Instead, this season, focus on others and you’ll have less stress and more fun.  Remember – getting someone to talk about themselves allows them to discuss their favorite subject.  Encourage that and watch the conversation grow from there!

For any further tips on how to effectively network during the Holiday season, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

3 Tips for Managing Stress Around the Holidays

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

ThanksgivingThe holiday season can be a wonderful time of year. It is a season of spending time with family and friends, celebrating the year’s successes, and ringing in the new year. Yet this time can also cause stress at work because it is notorious for being busy, and you find yourself having five to-do lists that never seem to get completed. As the year is coming to a close, you may wonder where the year went and how you are going to manage to meet your annual goals while preparing for the holidays. While being busy can be overwhelming, there are ways to ease your stress and manage work so that you can enjoy the season!

By following these three tips, you can start to say goodbye to stress for the holidays!

1. Make to-do lists

This may be an obvious concept that you could already be doing, but do you make to-do lists that sit around and inevitably become longer? To-do lists can be very helpful if they are specific and have an end. You may be thinking that you have an endless amount of things to do, but try to make to-do lists for different areas of your life. At work, categorize your to-do lists and make sure that they contain specific tasks that will be completed. It is also helpful to add completion dates to your list, so there’s a definite end in sight.

 

2. Prioritize your tasks

Now that you have your to-do list(s), you can now start prioritizing all of the tasks you need to do. It can be helpful to prioritize tasks by relevance if there are certain things that need to be done before others, or you can prioritize by desire. Putting the less desired tasks first gets them out of the way, so that you can make room for more enjoyable tasks that leave you feeling more motivated. By prioritizing your work, you then have a direction that you are going in to reach your goal.

 

3. Stop multitasking

Multitasking may seem helpful to do around the holidays because it allows you to get a lot done at once, but the fact is, we were not designed to multitask. It seems like a lot of things are getting done faster, but it in actuality, with your focus divided so much, you start to work at a slower pace and your quality of work could get diminished. You can only stretch yourself so thin before things start to get chaotic and stressful. Focus on one thing at a time so you can produce your best quality of work.

 

The holidays only happen once a year so make the most of them! Relax and enjoy yourself by following these three steps. By reducing the stress in your life, you make room for joy!

For more information on managing stress at work, call a member of our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. The team is now available 24 hours each day throughout the week! Please give us a call!

 

Photo Source: Satya Murthy

 

 

4 Tips to Enjoy the Holidays and Stay Productive at Work

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

The holidays are great for celebrating and spending quality time with your friends and family. Many people take extra time off from work during December. People often get so excited about their time off around the holiday season that they take an “early vacation” at work. Don’t slack off during this time of year. Staying alert while you’re still at the office will help you complete tasks so that you don’t return to a mountain of work.

Do these four things to make sure you can enjoy your holidays and not worry about the to-do list you must revisit when you go back to work:

Check Calendars

Don’t let the excitement of the holidays make you forget your work responsibilities. Know your schedule for the next two weeks. Do you have important meetings that you need to prepare for or a project with a looming deadline? Be up to date with your work plans so you don’t miss a beat when you’re away for the holidays.

Check Out Meeting

Be sure that you’ve completed all the projects and activities for which you are responsible. Have a check out meeting with your manager so you both are on the same page about the work items that need to be completed before the end of the year.  Doing this will prevent little fires or less than positive surprises when you return to the office.

Create a New List

Write down all the items you’d like to take care of before you leave for your winter vacation. Be productive during the days leading up to your vacation so that you’re able to complete a large portion of your list. For everything that you don’t finish, create an additional list that you’ll complete once your back at the office. You’ll return to the office with a great start if you prepare before you leave.

Clean Up

Tidy up your workspace before you leave the office to celebrate the season with your loved ones. File away loose paper and put away items that you don’t frequently use. Take out your recycling and empty storage areas. You’ll come back to work with a fresh space that encourages productivity.

For more tips to stay productive and organized at work, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: davedehetre