How to Handle Holiday Networking Burnout

nametagIf you’ve already attended a handful of holiday parties and have several more to go, join the club.

We know the drill — at first they’re fun! Festive! Exciting! And after a few glasses of wine and one too many tiny cheese puffs (not to mention trivial conversation near the coat check), you’ve reached party burnout.

And yes, this encompasses networking burnout. Well, here are a few pointers to keep your spirits up (and your sanity) this holiday season to make the most out of the fantastic new contacts within your reach.

1. This is temporary. Remind yourself it’s actually a sprint and not a marathon. You don’t have to hang in there for the long haul. This is for the short-term! You probably only really have two more weeks to go to sport a name tag and that friendly yet firm handshake. Hang. In. There.

Since you never get a second chance to make a first impression, take a deep breath and smile.

2. Have fun with it. Yes, we’re getting tired as well (let’s coin the term “networking fatigue,” shall we?) of the elevator pitch and a stack of business cards. Last week alone we attended two parties and ended up with 12 new contacts! That’s 12 new cards and alas, 12 new conversations.

Might as well have fun with it. Don’t make it all about work — we ended up having a fascinating conversation about homemade cannoli ingredients. Seriously — add Nutella and voila! Chocolate ricotta bliss.

Here’s the funny thing — the more you connect over various topics like yes, Italian pastries, the more you actually have fun. And robust contacts to follow up with an email like: “It was so nice to meet you, we were engrossed about cannoli conversations but I’d love to learn more about your role in sales…” Chances are that new person will definitely remember you.

3. Picture January. Here in New York City at least it’s quite peaceful but also quiet, even for Manhattan. Networking parties have pretty much died down and it’s more challenging to connect with folks at events.

So, as you reach networking fatigue status, remind yourself to stick it out because these opportunities are prime for making quality connections even though they’re a intense right now with consecutive evenings.

4. Focus on the follow up. Yes, a stack of 12 business cards is quite enticing to think about new possibilities but it’s really only a pile of paper at the end of the day. Following up with those new contacts is key. As you give yourself a pep talk to power through countless events, think about why you’re doing it.

It’s kind of like a diet, right? (Okay, maybe we’re a little focused on food right now – ha.) You hang in there because you’re thinking about the svelte payoff. This is quite similar. You grin and bear the countless conversations because there’s a good shot one or a handful of these interactions will lead to connections, follow up coffee talks and additional meaningful conversations…and a very prosperous 2015.