Navigating This Year's Office Holiday Party
Ah, the office holiday party. A time when you make awkward conversation with your boss's wife, and try not to look too bored when your supervisor's spouse tells you about their lint collection. Only it's not that bad, or at least, it doesn't have to be.
Before heading to your next holiday party, try to make up not only an exit plan — but also an escape plan. Here are some quick tips to make holiday parties less difficult:
Bring a friend
If the invitation says to bring a guest, you really should. If your own spouse is a better conversationalist than you are, consider pointing out to him or her the people you'd most like to speak with and have him or her dazzle everyone for you by proxy.
Have an agenda
Along these lines, if there's someone on the corporate food chain that you never get to interact with, consider making a point of saying hello to them at the office 'do. Make sure it's a time when they're not surrounded by bigwigs, and try to introduce yourself in a way that makes them realize that you're someone on the team worth knowing. And if you're feeling very positive about the interaction, follow up with a nice card or email, thanking them for the nice chat.
Bring a gift
No, it isn't kissing up to bring something nice for the host, even if the host is your office manager. A small box of chocolates, a scented candle or something small, but significant, will garner instant brownie points.
Have an escape plan
Don't walk in, do a lap around the room and then leave. Give yourself the challenge of staying for at least an hour and speaking to at least two new people. It won't be easy, but it will offer you a chance to talk to someone new.