There are no rules to this game, any time, any day is networking time. Here are the right and Wrong ways to go about
“Christmas parties are for children,” I always managed to convince myself before I started working. Lately, I cannot wait to mingle and catch up with my workmates, strangers, and anyone who comes my way. If you have been keeping to yourself this whole year and wondering how to close the gap, the office Christmas party is here. Get out of that bubble and network.
Networking during your office Christmas party is not always about meeting new people, it can be with the same people you work with. With loads of work and busy schedules, I hardly know anything about my work colleagues apart from their names. During such social events, like the office Christmas party, you have the perfect opportunity to get to know them better.
The right ways to network during the office Christmas party
Have a plan
Showing up is just not enough, there is more to it. What do you want to do? Who do you want to hang out with? Who do you want to meet and when do you want to call the Uber driver to probably take you home? You have to be intentional about office events. Also, when you strategise to make a new connection, you will need to dress the part, class attracts class!
Do not forget to be early. Keeping time will always end in your favour. Apart from getting the best seat next to the DJ or the serving tables, you have numerous options to opt for.
Join the organising committee
Being a busy buddy will get you some scores. One party hack that still works to this day, is to make the cook your friend. If you happen to be on the organising committee for your office Christmas party, you are in the right place to meet new people and network.
Set the right pace
It is a festive mood, find the best way to approach a new person. Dance your way there or offer them a drink. Very few people will be able to resist fun or an act of kindness. This makes it easier to start a conversation.
It is easy to get carried away in conversations, remember to introduce yourself. Your name is always more important, what you do and why you are there could follow, depending on the setup. Some Christmas parties are limited to staff, so your name and the department could do just fine. If it is an extended event to maybe suppliers, customers or a plus one, your name, what you do and why you turned up is enough. It is so heartbreaking when you can only be traced by your appearance, the smartly dressed tall lady. But with enough details, contacts can be quickly established.
You’re probably wondering, “Should I move around with my business cards?” That depends on the setting. If you are connecting with someone at the same table, reaching for your purse and sharing a business card is brilliant. However, you can even establish connections in awkward places like the ladies' room (yes I said it!) When you make a memorable impression in any setting, you will not be easy to forget.
Embrace social etiquette
Eat then talk, but never do both. Keep your voice volume at a minimum. How you behave in front of people can ease networking for you. Never forget to get the name of the person you are talking to, it is easy to keep the conversation flowing that way.
The wrong ways to network during the office Christmas party
Long conversations with a stranger or a new workmate can get boring and off track if you’re not careful. As you network, keep those conversations short. You must know when it is time to wish someone a great night. Remember, they too want to meet other people, do not stand in their way. Hold a good conversation for at most five minutes, the goal is to make a lasting impression in just seconds.
Joining the drink-up party
Trying to sustain a normal conversation when drunk is definitely a no-go. The earlier you keep away from the bottles the better you will be at networking during your office Christmas party.
Talking about your work
I agree it is easy to bring up conversations while talking about work but do not overdo it. It could help you kickstart a conversation but it won’t sustain it. On such a day, people want to have fun, talk about interesting topics (not that boring work topics), meet new people, and indulge in free drinks. If you keep talking about your boss’ assignment, this networking thing might not go too well for you.
Hanging out with your phone
Phones are such a distraction not only to you but those around you. If you chose to make your phone your date during the office Christmas party, just forget about making human connections. Also, when someone approaches you, kindly put your phone down. There is nothing you are missing out on, enjoy the networking time.
Networking is not just about getting a job connection, establishing connections with people can be more helpful than you imagine. Focus on getting to know people personally, and how can you help them more instead of being in the needy position.