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'Tis the Season for Networking, Making the Most of Your Holiday Party

holiday-partyA recent non-scientific survey found that nearly 70% of organizations are expected to hold some type of holiday event in the coming weeks. More than half (55%) are doing some on a workday or near the end of the day. Most (60%) limit the festivities to employees only and less than a third (30%) are staying on-site.

No matter the type, size or location, these events are often meaningful to employees. They can also be beneficial for the individuals who play the game correctly. A few tips from global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas:

  • Arrive early: This might be your best opportunity to talk with senior executives while things are still relatively quiet.
  • Work the room: It is easy to simply socialize with the members of your department, with whom you work with day in and day out. However, you gain if you use this occasion to meet people in other departments. You never know who can help your career.
  • Do not over indulge: Free alcohol can quickly lead to excessive drinking. Stay in control. You do not want to do anything embarrassing to you or your employer. Even if your alcohol-induced actions do not get you fired, they could hurt your chances for advancement.
  • Be friendly, but not too friendly: The company party is not the place to try out your latest pick-up lines. The risk of such behavior being seen as sexual harassment is high.
  • Avoid talking business: This is not the time to approach your boss with a new business idea. Save that for Monday morning. Instead, find out about his or her interests outside of the office. Find a connection on a personal level. That connection will help you on Monday when you bring up the new idea and it could help when it comes time for salary reviews.
  • Attend other companies’ parties: If a friend invites you to his or her company party, you should go. It is an opportunity to expand your professional network, which is critical in this era of downsizing and job switching.