Before you head to the company office party, make plans. If you have experience going to trade shows, you may find that you can use the same plans for attending an office party that you have used for attending trade shows.
Make plans to meet with people. If you expect to see people you do not ordinarily see, call them to let them know that you would like to meet with them for a moment to thank them for their work. If you work in demand planning and the data applications people are at the party, meet them to strengthen your relationship. You are not at the party to talk about work, but you can use the party for an opportunity to express your appreciation. Just take time to say thank you.
Turn off your cell phone. If you feel pressed to check in for a call, an email, or a text during the office party, leave the party briefly to take a break to check for messages.
Lighten up and have fun. The office party is fun. Enjoy yourself. If everyone wears regular office attire, wear your best office attire. Maybe buy something new for the office party. Buying and wearing a new blouse or new shirt may help you have more confidence. Don’t make it flashy. Just make it new and nice. If a new tie or scarf gives you confidence, you should buy it as an investment in your career.
Stay on the move and mingle. If you do not recognize someone at the party, introduce yourself. Offer to introduce the person to other people. If the person is new and is nervous, these people tend to remember people who took time to greet them. Yet when you sense that a conversation slows, excuse yourself to speak with other people.
Cliques are comfortable. People cluster in groups with other people they know. There are three things to consider about cliques.
- If you are spending too much time in your clique, move around.
- If someone you do not know steps into your group of friends, introduce yourself and introduce the person to your friends.
- If you see someone you would like to meet and the person is in a group of people speaking, wait until you see a lull in the conversation to introduce yourself.
Listen and ask questions. People will appreciate your interest in them and their job.
Avoid the party animals. An office party is not a pub crawl or opportunity to tie-one on with your buddies. You are there to build your career. If you feel the need to party down with your buddies from the office party, offer to meet them somewhere later. If you are among people who drink a great deal and want to fit it, have a mixed drink or soft drink, something with ice and a beverage. Then follow your drink with other soft drinks.
Make the office party your opportunity to make contacts and strengthen relationships. You can have a great time and show people your terrific skills to work with other people.