As well as getting stuck into the mulled wine and mince pies, the office Christmas party is your chance to work the room and make a lasting impression in front of important players in your business.
It’s the perfect opportunity to make key connections, overcome misconceptions, and climb the internal career ladder. Here are my top tips for being remembered for the right reasons this festive season.
Before you arrive at the party, decide on a “hit list” of the people you want to talk to and impress. Once you’ve found them, get prepared by finding out if you have any mutual interests that might work to your advantage.
For instance, if you both like football, have a quick glance over the results before the party. You can use LinkedIn to see if you have any connections in common or went to the same university – a nice personal touch to drop into conversation can make all the difference.
Get an intro
If you have connections in common with someone or a colleague who has a strong relationship with them already, use this as an opportunity to get a solid introduction. This is a more natural way of striking up a conversation with someone you’ve never spoken to before.
Work the room
Don’t make the common mistake of sticking with your direct colleagues or managers all night. There’s plenty of time for this, but it’s important to network with people outside of your direct team.
It’s likely you’ll end up managing or being managed by one or more of them at some point – so it’s good to strike up a working relationship.
Know what you want to say
Once you know who you want to talk to, make sure that you’ve got something to say. Steer clear of controversial topics like politics, religion or office gossip, and avoid awkward silences by having a few conversation starters up your sleeve.
Demonstrating that you are a natural conversationalist and easy in the company of all kinds of people is key to your success at the office Christmas party or drinks… and beyond.
Avoid the hard sell
But don’t be bullish. Remember that it’s a party and people don’t want to talk about promotions and how much you think you should get paid. It’s about playing the long game and building rapport with colleagues.
Strike a balance
It is still a party, though, so don’t be afraid to show off your personality – and some of your moves on the dance floor. It shouldn’t all be work talk: this is a good opportunity to connect with those you want to impress on a social level. People like social people, so having a laugh with someone is likely to leave a lasting impression.