Your December calendar is likely filling up with holiday events, including a company holiday party. Often, interacting with coworkers in a social setting can feel forced or downright awkward. However, the company holiday party also gives you an opportunity to showcase your social side to your coworkers and, more importantly, your supervisors. Strategize before the party to ensure you make a good impression at this holiday event.
Make Small Talk
One of the biggest challenges you might face at your holiday party is talking about something other than work. If you don’t know your coworkers well, you might stick to business talk to keep the conversation going. However, business talk can be dull, and it alienates the spouses and significant others at the party. Think of topics to discuss before the party so that you’re prepared if there’s an awkward silence. If your supervisor always carries a coffee mug with his favorite NFL team’s logo, ask him what he thinks of his team this season. Ask questions; people always enjoy talking about themselves. Keep questions light—ask about children or hobbies, but don’t get into politics or religion, which can be touchy subjects. Your conversation skills will help keep the conversation moving, and your coworkers will peg you as approachable as a result.
Have Fun—With Limits
There’s a fine line between enjoying your company’s holiday party and being the person everyone gossips about on Monday. It is essential that you find that balance in order to impress at the event. If there is a bar, limit yourself to one or two cocktails if you drink. Hit the dance floor with your date, but don’t challenge your supervisor in a dance-off. You want to be seen as someone who knows how to have fun with restraint.
Work the Room
Step outside of your comfort zone, and use the company holiday party as an opportunity to get to know coworkers who you don’t usually interact with. Introduce yourself to that executive who you have never met, but do not monopolize his or her time. Talk to spouses and significant others at the event; they often feel out of place and will appreciate being acknowledged. Don’t sit at your assigned table throughout the party. Instead, spend some time by the bar chatting with a coworker and move around to say hello to people who you aren’t at your table. Your social skills will be recognized.
View your company holiday party as an opportunity to show off your personality to your coworkers and get to know them better as well. Find the right balance between being social and being professional, and you’ll make the right impression at the event.