The holidays are here once again, and that means social gatherings are piling up on calendars. Chances are you will have at least one corporate or professional gathering to attend. These gatherings can present plenty of opportunities to socialize, build your network and introduce yourself to leaders in your organization or field. Here are some tips to make the most of your holiday get-togethers.
Find out who can come to the event.
Spouses and significant others are not always on the guest list. If the party invite is extended to “you and a guest,” you can bring a +1. If the invite is not clear about whether or not you can bring a date, check beforehand to avoid a potentially uncomfortable evening.
Don’t forget to show up.
If it is a corporate holiday party, chances are it’s not really an “optional” event. You may think your attendance is not required, but your absence will be noticed. Besides that, you are missing out on a great opportunity to create connections with people outside your department.
Don’t stand in the corner on your phone checking Facebook. You want to be seen as a team player at work, so it is important to act like one.
This is a great opportunity to become visible to your organization's higher-ups. At the very least, don't spend the entire evening with your regular office buddies -- get in the holiday spirit and mingle with people from other departments. Have a 20-30 second “elevator speech” prepared for the “so what do you do?” question.
If it were easy to follow this rule, we'd all be brilliant conversationalists. Many of us are so busy thinking about what we're going to say next while the other person is talking—that we fail to engage in real conversation. How many times have you been in a conversation where someone asked a question that had already been answered only moments earlier? A good rule of thumb: Listen 60 percent of the time and ask questions the other 40 percent.
For advice on things like what to wear, drink and talk about, check out my previous corporate party etiquette post here.