Now that the Christmas season is in full-swing, it is a time for office parties. Whether they occur in the department or at a venue, this can be an opportune time to pull out your networking gear and get to know people in the company. This is providing that you don’t take too much of the eats and drinks!
Typically, holiday parties are a way for organizations to show their appreciation to their employees by hosting some type of party function; so it is an expectation that all levels of leaders show up to help with these celebrations. What better way to have a captive audience and to get to know these leaders that you may never have the chance to get to know in such an intimate way. By networking well, you could create more visibility for yourself that could help you in your career. But there are some “rules” you must abide by if you want to create an advantage:
1. Introduce yourself – if you don’t know some of the leaders at the party, this is the perfect time to get yourself known. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and what department or job function you perform. This will typically lead to learning more about you and your role within the company and provides an opportunity for you to ‘talk shop.” If you are feeling unsure, ask your supervisor, or someone you know, to make the introduction.
2. Don’t talk to much about work – leaders come to relax and get to know employees so this is not the time to ask questions or make complaints/suggestions about work functions. Take you lead from them if they do bring up any work-related issues but be brief in your answers, or suggest that you could set up a time to continue the discussion later.
3. Be brief- leaders need to “spread the wealth”, so to speak, meaning that they have a lot of employees they need to recognize and have short discussions with, while also trying to have a good time. You don’t want to take too much – monopolize – their time. Again, take your cue from them if they want to continue to engage in conversation.
4. Mind your behavior – this includes not drinking or eating too much, gossiping, ignoring your coworkers, or other bad behaviors that could get you noticed – but not in a flattering way. Office parties are often a way for your peers to get to know your persona away from the office, which could lead to increased feelings of camaraderie and team building.
If you’ve been on the fence about going to your office party, focus on the positive benefits these festivities can add to your career opportunities if you follow the rules. Just be sure to have fun in the process!