Holiday office parties are often dreaded events, but we think they get a bad rap. Sure, they’re awkward sometimes — but they also promote a positive work environment and encourage happy and healthy work relationships. If you’re willing to put yourself out there, your evening could end with a new friend or a great networking opportunity. Attending extracurricular work activities also shows that you’re engaged and committed to your company, which could pay off when it’s time for your next big review. Here are our tips for navigating holiday office parties:
- Get a good night’s sleep. It’s really never good to be tired and cranky, but it’s especially inconvenient when it’s time to socialize! Believe it or not, getting less sleep actually makes us less confident and social, so you’re much better off well-rested.
- Bring a friend. Friends always make awkward social situations a little easier, since they offer the added security of company whose presence you’re sure you enjoy, and vice versa.
- Try your hand at networking. Holiday parties are a great place to get to know other employees at your company. Networking to establish useful professional relationships is best done in a social setting, and the office holiday party might be just the place for you to introduce yourself to someone important.
- Ask questions. Use the FORD technique to make conversation with a new acquaintance go more smoothly. The acronym stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams. Asking people questions about these topics will keep any conversation rolling.
- Have an exit strategy. Sometimes, colleagues can get a little too chatty, and you might find yourself looking for a way out. Plan a graceful exit strategy, such as answering a phone call, politely excusing yourself to say hello to a friend, or making a round of friendly good-byes before heading home to check on the kids or let the dog out.
Brave your company’s holiday party armed with these tips, and we’re sure you’ll have a better time than you thought you would!