Using the Office Holiday Party to Impress Your Boss

The office holiday party is more than a chance to bond with your peers and celebrate the holidays; it is a professional event that can help your rise to success or drop to the bottom of the barrel.

Have fun, but always remember – An office holiday party is still the OFFICE holiday party.  Here are some ways to strategize easy wins this party season to impress your boss and raise your profile.

1.  Introduce yourself – The office holiday party may be one of the rare occasions for you to meet and mingle with the less accessible members of your company.  Example: the CEO or VPs.  Say hello, shake their hand, introduce yourself and that you are happy to see them.  This is a rare chance to get a 30 second impression with the decisions makers.

2.  Make sure everyone matters – Yes, you want to make yourself known to the c-suite and your superiors, but what about Jimmy from Accounting or Alex from whatever department it is that she works in?  Remember that everyone, corner office or center cubical, is an important part of the team.  Take the time to say happy holidays and ask about their kids, not because you want to look like a nice person, but rather because you are a good teammate who values your peers.  But, most importantly, don’t be fake!  If you can’t be genuine, don’t bother.

3.  Eat, drink, and be merry (pulling it back a notch) – Dear open bar of wine and beer, I am going to pretend you don’t exist.  This may be a time to kick back, but don’t kick back SO much that you forget you’re at an office event.  Don’t do anything that may lead to the thoughts of “I can’t believe I said that to him.”  Self-edit and remember your surroundings.

4.  Offer to help – Does your office have a social committee?  Well, you don’t have to be ON the social committee to give a helping hand.  See if someone needs help with year end tasks, related to the party or related to project work loads.  As people leave for vacation, giving a helping hand can go a long way, so long as you focus on completing your tasks and deliverables first.

5.  Be your own champion, but don’t be an ass – There is an art to highlighting your accomplishments without being a prick.  Holiday events typically occur around the same time as annual performance reviews.  This is not the occasion to gripe about your low holiday bonus or brag about your huge promotion.  This is a time to casually remind people HOW you contribute to the organization and WHY you are the kind of person they love working with.

6.  Attend, no matter what – OK, sure there are legitimate reasons that you may not be able to attend, but don’t blow off your office holiday party because you’re too lazy to pull yourself together.  An office party may be “optional,” but your absence will be noted and leave an impression.  Make the conscious effort to get face-time with your team and other departments.  Make a guest appearance even if you can’t stay the full event.

7.  Have some fun – All successful careers and work environments are based on building relationships.  You can do that while having fun at the same time.  After all, it’s the holidays so kick back, relax, and remember that your coworkers are your family too.  Share some fun and have a few laughs with them, even if just to treat yourself for a hell of a year.

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