Given the nature of the payments business, it is likely that most ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) attend more than the average number of parties every holiday season. It's especially important for payment professionals to connect with community members at this time of year, by perhaps participating in holiday food and toy drives, or by just sharing heartfelt greetings during a time that is joyous for many.
It is also common to accept as many holiday party invitations as possible from clients, as well as host or attend parties organized for co-workers and colleagues.
This can add stress to a season that is likely already packed with shopping and planning for celebrations with family and friends. How can you not just survive this hectic time but make the most of the chance it presents to improve working relationships or connect with potential clients in new ways? Following are several helpful tips.
No matter how busy you are, find a little time for yourself every day. You could close your office door, sit down at your desk, take a few deep breaths and reflect on things in your life that you are grateful for. Or maybe taking a walk would do the trick. The important thing is to remember to not go at full speed all day and into the evening throughout the season. Give yourself breaks. And, be sure to get plenty of sleep every night.
It's likely boxes of cookies, nuts and candy will appear at your office, and the gatherings you attend are bound to have tempting food and drinks to enjoy. Savor these treats; don't just gobble them up without thinking. Pay attention when you're eating and drinking; listen to the signals your body gives you about when enough is enough. And when it comes to alcoholic beverages, you know what your limits are. Drink only as much as you can handle gracefully. And, of course, if you're going to get behind the wheel of a car, never let your blood alcohol level go over the legal limit for driving.
While you will, of course, want to enjoy yourself, you'll be at your best if you don't pay much attention to any nervous, judgmental or a variety of other feelings that might arise for you in social situations. Ask people questions about their lives, and listen closely to their answers. Aim to make at least two new friends per gathering, and try to learn a few new things about people you already know.
Sometimes it's hard to be spontaneous and think of the right questions to ask while at a party. It's a good idea to come up with a list of people you want to converse with, as well as what you'd like to know about them beforehand. This will help you have some control of the direction your conversations take.
You may feel obligated to show up at some functions you wouldn't attend if you felt you could skip them without negative repercussions. Don't let these feelings get in your way. Be kind to the folks in the room with you. Appreciate the fact that your presence is wanted, that you are integral to many groups, that you have a livelihood and, as a payment professional, that you have great power to fashion a career exactly to your liking.
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