Not long to the Christmas party season – here are 10 tips to help you use office party to enhance your career prospects
- It is tempting to stay with the people you know but it will be beneficial to introduce yourself to people from other departments. People are always more likely to help those they know so it is always useful to get the IT guys or the person who deals with expenses as a friendly contact.
- You can treat the party as a networking event and ‘work the room,’ spending time with people you don’t know, aiming to find out one new thing about each person you meet. You don’t need to go mad, but getting to know 3 or 4 new people is a good aim.
- If your boss has brought their partner along and you spot them on their own you could engage them in conversation. Many people won’t approach them but by asking questions, and being interested in what they have to say you may find out that on the way home they’ll tell your boss what a great person you are.
- The thought of karaoke may fill you with dread but if everyone else is doing it you’d be best to get involved, it sets you out as a team player willing to get involved rather than someone who sees themselves as above it all.
- This is not the time to ingratiate yourself with your boss; your colleagues will hate you for it. So if you find yourself talking with your boss, avoid discussing work, but be ready to discuss non-work topics. You could ask about their children, holiday plans etc.
- There may be a free bar, and it can be very tempting to drink to get through the evening, but then our inhibitions slip and we say and do things we later regret. A real danger of drinking too much is making a nuisance of our self with a colleague, to the extent that they see it as sexual harassment. It may be a Christmas party but you are still ‘at work’.
- Even at a party people will notice your behaviour so demonstrate great social skills. For example if someone has clearly drunk too much and is becoming over bearing you can demonstrate your diplomacy by saying something like ‘there’s somebody over here I’d like you to meet’ and take them away from the situation.
- Be aware that a Machiavellian colleague could be only too happy to forward a photo of you looking worse for wear to your boss. Also beware the group pose of you all going ‘Gangham style’, it is bound to be the one that circulates around the office, is this really the one you want to be remembered for?
- Just like after an interview when you can create a good impression by sending a handwritten thank you card or note (rather than email) to the organizer. You can also follow up with people you have been talking with, send them a useful article or arrange to meet to talk over coffee.
- And if you do make a fool of yourself … Don’t stay at home and hide, go in the next day, head high and laugh it off. Take a few days off sick and people will know why you haven’t gone in and talk about you even more and you will run through the episode in your head, over and over again.
Brought to you by Denise Taylor – One of the top UK career strategists, Denise Taylor, from Amazing People is a double award winning career coach who specialises in career and job search coaching. Her 7 books include ‘How To Get A Job In A Recession’ and ‘Now You’ve Been Shortlisted,’ and her 11 eBooks include ‘How To Use LinkedIn To Find A New Job’. Denise is regularly featured as an expert in the media including The Times, The Sun, Esquire. When you are unsure of your career future, need help with job search or seek to improve your presence in an online world, Denise can help.
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.