Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Network at Holiday Parties

'Tis the season for holiday parties! Whether you're looking for a job or just looking to make contacts in your field, holiday parties are a great way to build your professional network.  And networking is really just another form of communication - so here are five guidelines for how to communicate/network successfully at holiday parties:

1.    Have a Plan
Before you decide to attend an event, focus on your purpose for attending.  Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to meet, or information that you are looking to gather? Will you share with people that you are in the market for a new job, or are looking for new clients? Having a plan will make it easier for you to focus your attention and make it more likely that you will be successful.

2.    Listen
Good networkers listen more than they talk.  Resist the urge to dominate the conversation with tales of your professional prowess or your favorite (and lengthy) holiday anecdote.  Ask open-ended questions; these questions often begin with "how" or "what" and require more than a "yes/no" answer.  And then actually listen to the answers.  Demonstrate that you are listening by your non-verbal communications, for example, by making eye contact. 

3.    Everything in Moderation   
Whether it's sponsored by your company or the local professional association, a holiday party is not the place to sample all the free booze you can swallow or stuff yourself with the free shrimp.  You are there to meet and greet people and you can do that best when you are sober and focused on people, not the bar or buffet table.  In fact, I recommend that you have a snack before you go to the party so you're not starving (which helps if you're dieting, too).

4.    Be Confident
If you hate networking and are uncomfortable schmoozing with people, recognize that many others feel just as uncomfortable as you do.  Reach out to them and they'll be grateful – and you may just make a great professional connection!  Another way to network confidently is to "tag team" the event with a colleague.  You both attend and each of you talks about the other person's accomplishments.  For example, I recently attended an awards event with a colleague who had won an award the previous year – it was far easier for me to introduce her and say, "Have you met Lisa? She won last year's award," than for her to say, "Hi, I'm Lisa and I won last year's award."  If you do tag team, be careful not to spend all your time just talking to your tag team partner or people you already know well, which defeats the purpose of networking.

5.    Follow Up
If you meet someone interesting, make a decision to follow up within a few days with a quick call or email.  It can be as simple as an email that references your conversation, such as, "I enjoyed meeting you at the Chamber of Commerce party yesterday and discussing our children's college search process." Unless you schedule time in your calendar for following up with your contacts, you will have a stack of business cards on your desk that will only collect dust.

If you follow these five holiday networking tips, you'll be able to communicate effectively and build your professional network.  And having a strong network will be useful no matter what the future brings.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

ASTD in New Jersey 12/5 Meeting

How to be a Productivity Rock Star!
A Mid New Jersey ASTD &

Northern New Jersey ASTD

Holiday Dinner Meeting

Join us for a holiday celebration

and learn a little something too!
Come network; hear from colleagues who will be sharing Employee Learning Week experiences, and from our honored guest, Novo Nordisk who will be receiving the first Mid New Jersey Kirkpatrick Learning Evaluation Award.
And of course, learn how to be a productivity Rock Star!
December 5, 2012
5:30-8:30 PM
Bridgewater Manor, 1251 Route 202/206, Bridgewater, NJ
Time management is dead – in today’s world, it’s all about TECH management! ZIP! Tips are the faster way to get more done – they get us to work better, smarter and faster… and they’re quick-to-learn and easy-to-use. In this high energy, learn-by-doing session, discover amazing, exciting and efficient new ways to greater productivity – use your email, Outlook, iPad, SmartPhone, Gmail, Google, Bing and Word to communicate, collaborate and get more done!
Learning professionals are asked to boost productivity, performance, profits and sales. ZIP! Tips will help you and those in your organization get organized, prioritized and energized to excel! So ZIP! off your hamster wheel and zoom to this meeting - you’ll zap your performance pain points and get directly to your goals.
Mike Song has taught millions to ZIP! via dynamic appearances on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, and NPR. He’s the lead author of the best-selling email effectiveness book, The Hamster Revolution, which has sold over 150,000 copies in 12 languages. Mike’s clients include 20% of the F500 including Novartis, Capital One, HP, and McDonalds. He has surveyed over 45,000 professionals and presented to audiences in America, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Pre-Registered Price: $40
At the Door:$ 45 (Cash/Check Only)

We are honoring other local ASTD memberships from any sister chapter at the member rate
Pre-Registered Price: $40; At the Door:$ 45 (Cash/Check Only)

Pre-Registered: $50; At the Door: $55 Cash/Check Only

Pre-Registered $35; At the Door $ 35 Cash/Check Only

For more information or to register, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Monday, November 19, 2012

Employee Learning Week - ASTD-SCC 12/3 Meeting

Employee Learning Week: Hot Topics Round Table
American Society for Training & Development - So. CT chapter
Monday, December 3, 2012 Meeting
Join us for an interactive forum to learn and share best practices around trends in workplace learning and performance:
Leadership Development- Ivette Ruiz, Learning and Development Consultant, Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), will share how within a healthcare setting they identified potential frontline leaders, developed strategies and competencies to bridge the gaps and created an environment of learning and growth through their program.
Social Learning & Technologies- Adam Weisblatt, Learning Technology Specialist, FactSet, will discuss future trends in the social learning space; what types of LMS technologies are employees using; what business groups are most likely to collaborate on social learning tools. Adam will share what the latest news is about these social learning tools and what they are tweeting about!
Mentoring- Kimberly Bates-McCarl, Talent Leader, previously with Thomson Reuters, will share creating and sustaining successful mentoring programs. What are the elements needed and what kind of format works? She will share critical do’s and don’ts to watch out for and facilitate this timely discussion on mentoring.
Employee Engagement- Ross Tartell, Learning Leader North America, GE Capital Real Estate, has recently published several articles on employee engagement. We know from a Towers Watson survey nearly two-thirds of US employees are not fully engaged in their work and are less productive as a result. Ross will present & facilitate a discussion on this critical aspect of work, “It is all about the Manager!”
Come engage with learning and development leaders, share your expertise and learn about the latest trends. You will have the opportunity to participate in two different topic discussions. Don’t miss this opportunity to build your network and expand your expertise!
Date: Monday, Dec 3, 2012
Networking: 5:45 PM
Dinner Served: 6:30 PM
Program: 6:45-8 PM
Hosted by the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD-SCC) at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT 203-838-2000
Members: $35
Non-Members: $50
Students: $20
To register or for more information, visit
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Women's Business Development Council Annual Business Breakfast Nov. 15

Women's Business Development Council Proudly Presents
Connect – Grow – Influence: Women With Impact
Annual Business Breakfast

Thursday, November 15, 2012
7:30 am - 9:30 am
Stamford Marriot Hotel & Spa, 243 Tresser Boulevard, Stamford, CT
Chrystia Freeland – Global Editor at Large, Thomson Reuters

Susan Sobbott – President, American Express OPEN
Barbara Kasoff – Founder & CEO, Women Impacting Public Policy
Lisa Price – Founder, Carol’s Daughter
Amy Davis – Founder, Kiss-u Corps, LLC / WBDC client
For more information call: 203.353.1750 or email:
To view the full invitation: click here

Turning a Speech into a Career - NSA-CT 11/19 Meeting

The Secret to Bounce! Turning a Speech into a Career or Turning a Career into a Speech!
Thomas J. Winninger CSP, CPAE, Cavett Recipient.
Creating an active speaking schedule and having fun doing it.

National Speakers Association - CT chapter - Meeting
November 19, 2012
6-9 PM

Hilton Garden Inn
25 Old Stratford Road
Shelton CT 06484

Free to Members/Associates
$30.00 for Guests

Thomas Winninger, 2800 platform presentations, 5 books, 300 articles, 80 video training programs, 5 million miles, 5000 flights, Speaker Hall of Fame, Founder NSA Center for Professional Speaking, and the author of Book It.
  • Becoming a Busy Speaking Celebrity.
  • Repeat Engagement Process.
  • Turning a Speech into books, tapes, articles, pod-casts, youtube...
  • Using Sponsorships.
  • Growing a Speech that becomes a business.
  • Real Numbers.
  • Going On-Line!
  • Developing Material
...and answers to other questions that you will ask.

Thomas Winninger is considered North America's leading market strategist. He is the founder of the Winninger Institute for Market Strategy, a research firm that creates marketing strategies for North America's premium companies.

In 1995, Winninger won the prestigious CAVETT AWARD from the National Speakers Association, the highest award given and only presented to one member each year!
Winninger has the incredible ability to work with industries and create business strategies that gain market advantage. His ideas have been featured on CNBC First Business, in board room reports, Venture and Success Magazines and published in more than 300 other trade journals, magazines and newspapers. You will not want to miss this meeting!

For more info or to register, visit