We are on the cusp of the holiday season. As of next weekend (American Thanksgiving), George Michael will start singing “Last Christmas” at The GAP and a barrage of invitations to attend parties, purchase stuff and donate things will appear in your life.
Alas – as the HR professional I felt the urge to post on the topic of company and business community holiday events, both of which are inevitable during the “season”. I will not preach to you on the need to avoid getting drunk on the company dime… Rather I am inspired to share my thoughts on how to enjoy yourself at these events; as most of us know that we need to go to the party, but don’t actually look forward to it.
So a couple of thoughts:
- If it is the company holiday party, consider hosting a pre-drinks get together for your team. I used to do this and found it reduced anxiety and created a feeling of “team” as we all headed to the party together.
- Feel good about what you are wearing. You don’t want to be fidgeting all night. Wear shoes you know can last the night. And in these recessionary times, consider borrowing evening wear from your friends and colleagues.
- If an event with nametags, ladies try and wear a collar or jacket so that you can attach your nametag to something.
- Enjoy meeting the spouses. This can be the most fun of the evening. I find you learn a ton about someone by meeting their spouse, and it is a nice way to avoid any political or office talk. Instead you get to talk about their dog, renovation, kids etc…
- If a business community/networking event, try to go with someone that you know. Get a wingman or wingwoman and agree that you will help each other out by introducing one another and by being each others “safe haven”.
- When meeting new folks, work to find something you have in common. Often asking someone what they do/where they work is a good start as often you will know someone in common.
- If a poor soul is standing by themselves, for heaven’s sake, go over and introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. You will have a new friend for life.
- Take a deep breath and just do it. You may be surprised by how much fun you have. And if you don’t, well you can leave and feel smug about actually making the effort to go in the first place.
Now let’s go party!