Mentioning “the holidays” to people in business usually garners cringes and wrinkled noses.
 Why? It seems that unless you’re a retail establishment, the holidays become a difficult time to do business. Either everyone’s caught up in holiday mode and not wanting to make any decisions until the start of the New Year, or they’re nearing the end of their fiscal year, and they don’t want to make any major financial decisions, or maybe they’re just too caught up in all the holiday happenings from office parties and other scheduled holiday gatherings to even be able to have room in their calendar to do or think about anything else!

If you’re prepared, this time of the year is where you can shine. [tweet this]

And the keyword in that statement is “preparation.”

3 Quick Tips to Not Losing at Schmoozing

First, know what makes you unique and what strengths you possess. Craft a list of five of those attributes that really describe you.

Second, have a quick answer for “What do you do?”  It’s one of the most-asked questions at any gathering and the one least listened to. It’s more of a courtesy to ask than it is a true question.  So your answer needs to focus on one of your unique strengths, not a title, and you’ll stand out.  Titles tend to box us into whatever that other person’s experience is with that title, and we want to remove any barriers to connection especially those from preconceived perceptions.  For me, I would say, “I connect people online and offline.” The second part of that answer is to ask a question, “So what do you do” or “What do you enjoy doing?”  It is a good thing to be seen as a good conversationalist or communicator.

People value people who value them. [tweet this]

And the best way to do that is to listen. Ask questions and listen. If they do most of the talking and you do most of the listening, then you will be considered a good conversationalist, and they’ll even tell other people that you are!

Third, you need to develop a good answer to “What’s up” or “How have you been doing?”  These are the second most-asked questions, and “winging it” usually leaves us saying something like “Been busy,” “Nothing much,” “Good,” or “Can’t complain.”  Spending the time to prepare this answer can make the difference between you being like everyone else or you shining in your 15 seconds of fame!  Think of something that you recently did or are doing that really highlights one of your brand attributes.  For example, I would say “I just presented a successful webinar in making the most of your holiday marketing for small business owners. It’s my passion to make sure that small business owners get more business quickly. I’m happy to have shared the 12 things they need to do that get great and fast results.”

Being ready with a good answer that shines on your personal brand and then engaging someone in conversation with a question is a great start to be visible at any gathering. Visibility is the first step to inspiring others to speak positively about you and garnering positive word-of-mouth!

Here are different branding topics from last week: