3 Reasons to Embrace the Office Holiday Party
Is the Office Holiday Party at work fast approaching and you aren’t enthused? Perhaps you even dread it? Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, will show you how to get the most out of such events, and maybe even enjoy them.
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So the Office Holiday/Christmas Party has arrived. You’re not a party person, or maybe you are and you think office parties are just too dull. You're thinking of skipping the party, but you figure you've got to go. So you’re going, but you’re not happy about it. Let me tell you why you should be.
1. It may be fun!
The Office Holiday Party feels awkward for most people, but it doesn’t have to be. What makes it feel awkward is that you’ll be interacting with people whom you only know in one capacity— the office. (And you may even be thinking, "and I don't want to know them in any other capacity ... ") But getting to know them in a different way can help your in-office relationships as well as your career.
Usually office interpersonal relationships are somewhat superficial. The office party is a chance to “peel a layer from the interpersonal onion” so to speak—or if you've read my book Smart Talk, go one level deeper in your hula hoop! It’s a chance to go from ‘just the facts’ that you need to do your job to maybe finding out something about your colleagues' interests, hobbies, or life experiences. It’s a chance to find something else in common besides work, a chance to talk about something else. And making those kinds of connections can be fun. (Really.) By the way, if small talk isn't in your comfort zone—I suggest also reading Why You Should Embrace Awkward Small Talk.
And sometimes an office party is more than just hors-d’oeuvres and drinks. Although I didn’t generally look forward to the office party either, I once went to a very well-planned “theme” work holiday party that allowed me to interact and engage with people I wouldn’t have normally had the chance to get to know—in a way that was incredibly entertaining and fun. The next year, when it was canceled due to the budget, I was actually disappointed!
2. It could improve your office relationships and your productivity.
The office party is a perfect opportunity to improve office relationships. It may be one of the few times you have the opportunity to freely interact in-person with people at different levels within the company and in different departments. Making in-person connections may seem like a “silly” benefit of attending a work party, but in this age of mostly email and texting, creating an in-person, personal connection can significantly deepen a relationship. That benefit should not be underestimated. Personal connection increases trust which, in turn, increases influence and helping behaviors. Maybe the IT gal helps you with an issue you have on your home computer, or maybe the HR person pushes through your request, or maybe your boss’s boss approves a pay increase—just because they got to know you a bit better at the holiday party. Again, don't underestimate the tremendous value of in-person conversations about non-work interests, activities, goals, and values to deepen relationships.
To be clear, being the “life and soul” of the party is not the right goal. Your goal should be to choose a few relationships you want to further develop and use the party environment to help you advance those particular relationships while also nurturing your existing important relationships.