Does the idea of “networking” at a holiday function bring out your inner grinch or make you want to run for the hills? While you’re certainly not alone, here’s the good news: those in medical sales tend to be naturally good at icebreaking conversations.
Holiday networking doesn’t need to be only about idle chit chat and shouldn’t make you feel like you are callously conversing with an ulterior motive. Instead, think of these end-of-year social gatherings as one of those rare times you get to spend time outside of work connecting with the diverse groups that intersect all aspects of your life — family, friends, spouses, significant others, colleagues, vendors, and even clients.
Here are my thoughts on the three most likely holiday networking scenarios you will face this season, and how best to approach them for maximum benefit to your medical sales career AND enjoyment:
The Holiday Luncheon
Holiday potlucks and luncheons tend to happen during the day and often within the confines of your company’s building.
While normal instinct is to sit with those you feel closest to or those with whom you normally socialize outside of work, consider trying something new this year. Sit next to someone you might like to work with more closely or who perhaps, during the normal 9-to-5, seems too busy for conversation.
Rather than talking about work, use the time to chat about life. If it goes well, you can always part the luncheon by saying you’d love to get on each other’s work calendars in the future.
Think of it this way — you can socialize with your work friends at any time, but a daytime lunch is a perfect opportunity to make a new, meaningful connection that could be mutually beneficial down the road.
The Evening Party
These large events are often held offsite, and guests on the invite lists typically include spouses, significant others, clients, and more. In today’s virtual world, there’s a good chance that portions of the guest list will be made up of people who’ve you’ve only known via conference calls and emails.
Like the holiday luncheon, normal instinct is to gravitate toward those you know quite well. However, this is an opportunity to not only get to know others but also to shine as a company SME or medical sales representative. This event is a perfect opportunity for you to put names with faces and allow them to walk away impressed.
Unlike the work lunch, where it may be best to stick to non-work topics, conversations with these groups can include a mix of chat about holiday plans as well as company happenings. It’s important to come prepared to these events with details (new drugs, products or devices) you can share that might be mutually beneficial.
Friends and Family Get-Togethers
Why is it important to chat with your cousin’s new girlfriend or your neighbor’s son’s baseball coach? Because these are the people that should be part and parcel of your professional network.
It’s been said before. The first tier of your network should always include family and friends. And the second tier should be the family and friends of your family and friends. It stands to reason, then, that holiday open houses, cocktail parties, and even sit-down dinners are the perfect place to build new medical sales connections and nurture existing ones.
This is likely the time that you’re eager to chat with good friends but if you make time for new conversations, who knows where they might lead. Make a point of introducing yourself to at least one or two new faces, or perhaps a few that you know by reputation but have never had the opportunity to speak with face-to-face.
If you shy away from talking about your work and asking others about theirs, you’ll never know that one baseball coach knows a parent who works at XYZ medical device company, or that the friend of your friend works in pharma — coincidentally the industry that interests you for your next career move!
Lay the groundwork for future chats in January and these people may be willing to help you connect when you follow up!
The Power of Even One Connection
While you don’t have to devote 100 percent of your time at these events to new connections, even if you commit to just one or two new conversations at each, you’ll be growing your medical sales network and making ties that may extend well into the new year.
From a daytime lunch to an evening holiday party or a neighborhood open house to a sit-down holiday dinner, these gatherings are more plentiful than ever during the month of December. And they are a wonderful opportunity to make new connections, build new relationships, and grow others.
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– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW
Virginia Franco Resumes | www .virginiafrancoresumes.com | VAFrancoResumes@gmail.com