The holiday party season is upon us, and with that comes your annual office party or corporate event. While these events can be fun and entertaining, they can also be a bit of an awkward situation. Picture this, you’re standing in the crowd of your holiday party, clutching your drink and attempting to make any type of small talk with your best work friend. You’re also probably looking for the easiest way out of the party too.
We know that company holiday parties can be awkward and uncomfortable, and while it also depends on what your coworkers are like, it’s up to you to break the ice and break that barrier. Remember that while all of this may be intimidating, all these people at the event are just normal people like yourself. Don’t let the titles that people have get the best of you. Instead of promising yourself that you’ll only stay for an hour in order to make an appearance, we’re going to give you some of our favorite tips and tricks in order to make your company event something that you actually look forward to!
People You Don’t Know Well
No matter what the size of your company is, it’s a guarantee that there’s going to be people you don’t know. There can be safety in numbers, especially when it comes to work events, so instead of all huddling together silently, get out there and make the first move! Try not to focus on the typical work talk. Of course, you should get to know them and that probably includes their position within the company and how many years they’ve been there for, but don’t let it end there. It may seem like common sense, but get to know their interests and let them lead the conversation.
People love to talk about themselves, so you should be good to go with that one. Once you feel like you have something that you can add with, genuinely, add to the conversation. You’ve let them speak about themselves, so now it’s your turn. If it is purely a business affair and you’re trying to keep it strictly professional, ask questions about the company that are open ended. Questions like “What’s something you’d like to see the company improve upon?” or “How did you get started with the company?”. Questions like this are great open ended questions that keep it light hearted and easy to incorporate other people in the conversation too.
The Person You Don’t Get Along With
It’s inevitable for you to have to be around the person that you don’t get along with, and while this is just a simple fact of life, knowing how to work through this is a great life skill. Depending on the situation, a simple hello may suffice, but if you find yourself having to make a bigger effort, try these tips out.
For this one, you should absolutely not talk about work-related things. Just stay away from that at all costs. Do not bring up that passive-aggressive email chain or that time they told you something you didn’t want to hear. Instead, try to find some shared experiences with them. Ask them about the clothing they’re wearing or ask them about their weekend plans. Keeping the small talk light-hearted can go along way. It shows that you’re able to let bygones be bygones and still keep it professional. Trust us, this one will go a long way and chances are that the two of you have more in common than you think.
Your Immediate Boss
If you’re someone who doesn’t see or work directly with your immediate boss, chatting them up may be extremely intimidating. While it may be easy to think that small talk will be easier since you genuinely don’t know them as well, try to limit it. Once again, get to know them, you don’t want to be that person jumping straight into company-related questions. You also don’t want to make them seem like they’re being interviewed.
Superficial questions won’t really have much of an impact and sharing too much personal information can get sticky. A good rule of thumb is to make about 20% of the conversation about work. Follow the rest of your conversation with anything that you find appropriate. It’s also a great time to show them that you’re really listening to what they have to say. Asking them how they became the leader is a great question to incorporate both their personal and business lives. Just keep it light, and remember that it’s their night off too!
The Senior Leaders
Just like your immediate boss, your senior leaders probably don’t want to spend their evening discussing work issues, they have to do that on Monday. It’s also important that you know who these people are, you don’t want to go up to them and ask them what they do at the company to only find out that they’re your superior. Doing your research beforehand is a great way to utilize your time at the party if you purely want to network.
Keep the conversation similar to the conversation you would have with your immediate boss. Show interest and the rest will follow. Listen to what they have to say and respond with open-ended questions that are easy to follow up with. Keep it genuine. After all, they’re going to be speaking with so many people throughout the night and you want to make sure that they remember your conversation for good reasons.
In the end, it’s important to understand that all of these people are human just like you. No matter what they’re job title is, they were once in your position and had to work their way up as well.
We know that company parties and events can bring a multitude of emotions. While it may be an uncomfortable experience, give your employees something that they are going to enjoy and look forward too. Not only will it make the party a better experience for everyone but it could lead to more productivity in the workplace. Showing your employees that you care about them by planning a great event is important. Which is where we come in! At Bounce Sporting Club, we want to make your next holiday party a night to remember. Connect with us here and learn how we can give your company the event of their dreams. With gourmet food, handcrafted drinks, and beautiful rooftop views, we can guarantee that it will be the night of a lifetime.