How to score points at your company’s holiday party
Why you should go, and ways to make the celebration advance your career.
Dreading the company’s holiday party is a December ritual. Except it’s also an excellent time to sneak in some self-advancement. All the important players will be there. Even if you hate insincerity, attend strategically and score some points.
Skipping the event could backfire
Your employer’s gone to the expense of planning and paying for this gathering. They expect senior staff to attend, while it’s usually optional for mid-levels and juniors.
What’s the downside of bailing? As a result, your boss might consider it disloyal of you. Colleagues could assume you’re disengaged or avoiding something. Also, you’ll miss a great chance to network upward and heal workplace rifts in the spirit of the season.
If you do skip the festivities, try to let your boss and critical colleagues know in advance. Above all, have a watertight excuse.
Attend with a smile
Stay home if your plan is to go and show everyone you’re miserable. Your boss probably knows you are already and doesn’t need the reminder. Colleagues and others will see you as rude and disgruntled.
Sporting a smile doesn’t just mean grinning perpetually. It’s also about spreading good cheer. Go to people who’ve been helpful during the year and thank them sincerely. For staff who report to you congratulate them on a job well done. Show interest in them as more than office drones.
Best way to advance your career at the holiday party? Choose significant people in advance to interface professionally with.
Before the event, pick out prospects who could help you get ahead, secure better assignments, serve as a mentor or move projects forward faster. If you don’t know them much do a bit of research. Find things you could raise in conversation to build a bond.
Nail your 15-second self-introduction. After chatting, exchange contact info and follow-up soon with a thank you email, saying you enjoyed your discussion.
Heal rifts and give gifts
In the giving season – and with maybe a few stiff drinks under their belt – your workplace foes might be more amenable to making nicey-nice. Approach them with the intent of finding common cause. It may be futile, but you won’t know till you try.
Bribing them a little won’t hurt. For instance, maybe discreetly give them a gift they’ll appreciate. Same with your boss and others you’re trying to win over.
The party’s a career development occasion
Treat the gathering as the workplace event it is. That is to say, keep your behaviour in check. Leverage the chance to create contacts and bolster your image. It’s all about planned self-advancement.
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