Monday, October 29, 2007

A Holiday Dinner Party to Create 12 Months of Relationship Goodwill

Here is a simple idea for doing one thing that goes a long way toward being well remembered by your network of business relationships -- host a private holiday dinner for 10-15 of your most important contacts.

In all of the year the one time that we hold the most dear is time spent with friends during the holiday season (December). It is a special time when goodwill and friendship mean the most and memories last the longest. Here is what I have in mind:
  • Look into your Rolodex and select the most important business relationships you value. Your list can include clients, potential clients, referral resources, and special VIPs.
  • Don't forget to include friends and/neighbors that could be valuable connections for others on your invitation list.
  • Be sure to include at least one "life of the party" person you can count on to ham-it-up. It always helps to invite at least one personality who is a natural entertainer (if that person is not you).
  • If at all possible host the event in your home. Making the dinner so personal has an incredible effect.
  • If your home is not an option find a good restaurant with a private dining room of significant impact. In Orange County (and in most cities) there are several high-end establishments that have "kitchen dining" -- a special room served only by the Executive Chef and a place of incredible service and culinary WOW.
  • Option: When you sit for dinner ask each guest to declare what was special in the last year and what they hope for in the next 12 months.
  • Option: Ask each guest to briefly describe the holiday traditions they enjoy with family and friends.
Each year I participate in more than a few dinners just as I describe above, and host two... each one is special and I look forward to them every year. The people I know through these dinners remain special for a long time forward.

Do this one thing. It is worth the effort.