6 Strategic Moves for the Office Party

Office Holiday Party

At that messy intersection of co-workers, bosses, disco music, soggy appetizers and alcohol, you find: The Holiday Office Party.

It can be mildly awkward (did you need to see your boss’s voguing dance moves?), a career wrecker (tequila shots!) or a strategic chance for you to impress higher-ups.

Career coach John McKee offers this advice:


    • Arrive early: Senior management will be ready to receive guests and won’t yet be thronged by other employees.


    • Prep: Identify a few company leaders you’d like to speak with. Do some Internet stalking web research to find out a bit about them. Do you both like tennis, have young kids or share a Big Ten background?


    • Dress the part: Wear something more festive (but not more sexy) than your typical office attire.


    • Don’t talk shop: Connect personally. Have a few talking points, like holiday plans, a recent movie you saw, a good book you’ve read. Showing your social side helps you to stand out, McKee says.


    • Shy? Ask questions: People are flattered when you want to hear their stories. “They’ll think you are a delightful conversationalist!” says McKee.


    • Leave early! Nothing good happens at the bitter end.


Party Politics: Share your most memorable office party lesson.

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