Published on 24th November 2019
With the festive season just around the corner, your HR team definitely has something big stirring in the pot for the office Christmas party.
But before you get too excited and start planning your red carpet outfit for the evening or contemplate declining the calendar invitation, it’s always good to remember that these types of events aren’t just about eating your heart out, getting wasted or creating gossip. It’s actually a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, cultivate better relationships and build your personal brand within the business.
To help you, I’ve put together 6 ways to make your office holiday party a positive and happy one!
1. Show up
Something as simple as turning up says a lot of unspoken things about you that you may not realise.
You’re a team player
You appreciate what’s been organised
Having a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude doesn’t do yourself any favours. In fact, you lose social points for not having the decency to turn up to an event that the team has spent months planning in advance. Be a good sport and turn up, have no expectations and you’ll be surprised how much fun you might have. An additional bonus - all the unspoken brownie points you’ll be gaining!
2. Be ready to mingle
This is the perfect opportunity to get to know colleagues from other teams that you may not have had the chance to interact with. Not only does this expand your network within the business but by forming new and better relationships with colleagues, it could just help you with your work on future projects.
Too afraid or a little shy to mingle? Ask a colleague who’s a social butterfly to introduce you. That way, you have a buffer and conversations won’t be as awkward as you imagined it to be.
Also, if you’re looking to make a move within the business, take this opportunity to introduce yourself or say hello to the senior leadership team. The leadership team are the ones who set the tone in terms of company culture and you can be certain that they’ll be observing to see who is connected, making an effort and right for the role.
3. Participation is key
Most office Christmas parties have activities planned either before or during the event. No, I’m pretty sure you will not be asked to sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya together. Well, at least you shouldn’t be! The purpose is to get everyone together and involved, to encourage collaboration, develop strengths and most importantly, to have some fun!
It’s also a great way to build new or better relationships with colleagues within the business without the awkward element. It’s easier as you will all be striving towards the same goal – working together to complete the activity as fast as possible to ensure you have bragging rights in the bag.
4. Talk about your pet that no one knows about
You might be thinking – I’m not the most talkative person in the office and I’m not great at small talk. What am I supposed to talk about?
Keep it simple and exactly as it states – talk about the pet that no one knows about. It doesn’t have to be a pet, it could be about a trip you’re planning, a restaurant you’re going to try, your sibling that no one knows about, or even better your twin! Two of my colleagues have an identical twin and the conversations that came out of that just amazed me.
No one is asking you to retell your life story (unless you want to share it), so don’t. If you’re not great at sharing, then be the person who asks the questions. Most people enjoy sharing their stories. This gives you the opportunity to know your peers on a more casual level and who knows, you might find that you both have something in common!
5. Be authentic and personal
If you are authentic and personal, people will find you genuine and they will be more inclined to want to work with or for you, or even have you on the team. Putting on a mask all day is tiring, and it is likely that your peers may be able to see right through this.
Put on a fake smile and make insincere comments, and you’ll find it tough to make allies in the office. Good luck with getting help from that person in the future!
6. Switch off
Be present, stop thinking about work and don’t be distracted with your mobile. There will always be work; it’s neverending so you might as well enjoy yourself properly and leave it for another day. As for mobile phones, stop with the texting. You’re only leaving yourself to miss out on opportunities and your behaviour may be perceived as rude.
I hope the above tips help and lastly have a blast at the Christmas party!