’Tis the season for holiday luncheons, parties and other festivities. If your promo business is planning holiday celebrations for employees or clients, it can help to polish your social skills ahead of time. With great social skills, you can better connect with the people around you and have more meaningful conversations.

Jennifer Herrity, a career services professional, says that knowing how to network and navigate events can also strengthen your business connections and may lead to job referrals.

Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily for her insight into how you can improve your social skills just in time for one of the most social times of the year.

  1. Engage with others. Look for ways to keep the conversation going by asking open-ended questions. Practice your conversation skills with a family member, friend or close co-worker.
  2. Start small. Grabbing a coffee? Strike up a conversation with the barista. Stopping at the grocery store after work? Expand beyond a one-word answer when you’re at the checkout line. Little by little, start to lengthen conversations that may typically be quite short.
  3. Ask more open-ended questions. Many people appreciate being asked these kinds of questions because it helps them feel validated and heard. Whether you’re meeting someone new or catching up with someone you know well, try working in more questions like, “What do you think of …” and “Can you tell me about …”
  4. Observe your co-workers’ social skills. Herrity recommends paying attention to their body language and the vocabulary they use to spark conversations. Think about what makes their social skills effective and engaging.
  5. Practice maintaining eye contact. Try setting a goal to make and hold eye contact for at least three to five seconds each time you interact with someone.
  6. Learn to listen well. Being a good listener is an essential skill when you work in sales. The skill also comes in handy at social events. Practice your listening skills by giving people your undivided attention – no glancing at your phone – and asking questions to better understand where the other person is coming from.
  7. Freely give compliments. As long as you’re genuine, this is a great way to demonstrate friendliness and appreciation for others, Herrity says.
  8. Find resources to supplement what you know. If you know you could brush up on something specific, like networking or active listening, look for podcasts, classes or books that could help you.

With various upcoming holiday events, take some time now to improve your social skills. Doing so can help you make the most of all the networking and team-building opportunities the season can bring.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers 
Source: Jennifer Herrity is a career services professional with more than 12 years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and talent acquisition.