You prepare for your career. You prepare for each work day. So why wouldn’t you prepare for that ritualistic psychology experiment known as the holiday office party?
The yearly office party has attained pop culture notoriety not by chance. Nearly everyone who has been in the workforce long enough can recall an outrageous episode or two.
Remember what John did in ’98? That was nothing compared to Carol in ’02.
If you value your career. If you value your professional relationships. A quick primer on the proper way to behave at the office party is worth a quick scan.
Preparing for the Holiday Office Party
Depending upon the size of the company where you work, your office party may be the only time you have open access to the owner, president, or CEO. This is a great opportunity to let them know who you are, not by way of swimming in the punch bowl, but by introducing yourself. Don’t hang out all night long with a table full of cronies when you can mingle and get to know some of the higher-ups and co-workers from other departments. The office party is a great opportunity to grow your network.
Office parties are not the time to don a Hawaiian shirt or wear provocative clothing. The office party is an extension of the office place. The image you have crafted from nine to five can disappear in the course of one evening.
Prepare for Small Talk
Think about topics or questions that you can use as starter conversation. Adjust these starters for different individuals or potential audiences. Once you get comfortable using them on a few people you know in passing, branch out and get to know a person or two with whom you may not normally have the opportunity to talk to.
Take An Active Role
Whether you realize it or not, people observe those who are participating and those who look like they are in a dentist’s chair. You needn’t go over the top, simply participate in games, activities, or even helping with simple setup or clean up. It will make an impression.
Drink in Moderation
Nothing to expound upon here.
Regardless of how you view the office party, someone planned it and someone paid for it. So even if you view it as an irritating inconvenience, be sure to show gratitude. It is very wise to thank whoever is hosting the office party. They likely view it as a benefit, even if you’d rather be watching TV on your couch.
We’ve heard over and over that verbal communication is a small part of the entire “communication package.” Therefore, keep your nonverbal cues positive. Smiling does wonders and encourages people to respond in kind.
Have a Bite to Eat Beforehand
Don’t arrive “hangry.” Your mood and your ability to handle liquor are affected by an empty stomach. Don’t be the guy with 12 hors d’oeuvres stacked up on a tiny plate.
Be Happy Going to Work the Following Day
Follow these tips and you won’t need to hide your face the next day at work. No one will be showing video clips of you doing the tango with your tie wrapped around your head. If done correctly, your stock and circle of friends will increase.
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