Like it or not, it’s time for the annual holiday office party. Guess what? There’s no skipping out. Your attendance is required. Holiday office parties are your opportunity to meet with the big bosses of your company. You get to shake hands with them, spend a few minutes chatting with them and hopefully leave a lasting impression on them. If done well, this may have carved a chance at being asked to join them for a “special” meeting to see what you’re really all about, and where you fit in within the organization. If you screw this up, you can be sent to purgatory relegated to the masses for some time to come. What to do? What to do?
Let’s review some steps to prep you for your big and memorable moment, that will undoubtedly catapult you on a trip to the C-suite of your dreams.
- Behave Yourself.
Don’t laugh. You wouldn’t believe how many people forget themselves when staring down a bowl of eggnog. Let’s ration the levels of alcohol consumed in an environment where you can’t afford to lose your mind, or your manners. Oh, and don’t forget to dress like presence matters to you. After all, Coco Chanel said it best, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
- Make the First Move.
Here’s your moment. Here’s where you make itcount. Just a little liquid courage (very little) and off you go to introduce yourself to the person who signs your paycheck. Make sure your drink is in your left hand because you don’t want to extend a clammy cold hand to your boss and have that be your first contact with him or her. Remember to clearly state first and last name and do not forget to mention which department you work in. This is very important. Remember, less is more. Don’t be like a bull in a china shop. Be smooth, light and quick. You have eight seconds to make a lasting impression, not eight minutes.
- Be Social.
It is a party after all. You certainly don’t want to be seen as a wall flower or as someone who goes to the bathroom all the time because you don’t know how else to circulate the room, right? And don’t talk about work with the boss. Pick any other subject to engage the boss in conversation with. It is considered poor form to discuss at a holiday event something that can be discussed at the office any day of the week.
- Include Their Plus One.
You would give yourself away as a corporate climber if you do not pay attention to the person accompanying your boss at the event. Be inclusive, ask them questions and show interest in wanting to get to know them. If your boss brought someone to the office holiday party, chances are this person is important to know and to include.
- Make an Easy and Quick Exit.
Do not overstay your welcome. You are not the only person that should hold the boss’s attention. They need to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Be open, be friendly and be on your way.
These simple but necessary steps, if done right, will keep you in good stead and will start paving the way to a much more familiar relationship with your boss, that could have endless possibilities.