How to Schmooze at the Holiday Party

Get five tips to help you mingle and schmooze like a pro.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read

Schmooze Tip # 3: Listen

Once you start a conversation, don't worry about what you are going to say next. Mingling is about starting with small, shared stuff and letting the conversation naturally grow. Just listen. Let your natural curiosity and genuine interest guide the conversation.

You might want to gently remind your boyfriend that he shouldn’t start talking about work. And you both should stay clear of potentially uncomfortable subjects such as:

  • romance (particularly office romances)

  • religion

  • politics

  • appearance

  • health

  • race

  • personal finance

Schmooze Tip #4: Share

Remember, it’s important that you not solely ask questions and listen--that will feel like an interrogation to your conversation partner. The goal is to find common ground by sharing a few of your own stories too.

At some point, you’ll likely want to introduce yourself. I know you mentioned you listed to the “How to Introduce Yourself” episode. Use that episode to help you create your “social” version of your self-introduction. Keep it very brief and practice it before you go. Speaking about practice, you might want to ask your boyfriend to check your handshake. (I did an episode on handshaking too.)

Schmooze Tip #5: Appreciate

Make sure you and your boyfriend thank the appropriate people at the party. Make it a point to thank the party planners for their hard work. Also be sure to thank the high-ranking folks for the party. Many companies have cancelled this year’s holiday party. So tell them what a great time you had or comment on something you liked. It’s important to express your heartfelt appreciation. It shows that you don’t take events like these for granted.  Finally, if you are talking to someone and another person is waiting, try to include them in the conversation.  Or excuse yourself and move on. 

Quick and Dirty Tip for Office Holiday Parties

Finally, perhaps the biggest overall advice that I can offer regarding work holiday parties is to keep in your mind at all times that it is an OFFICE party, not an office PARTY. The goal of any office party is to practice your mingling skills by paying attention, taking the lead, listening, sharing, and appreciating. Yes, it is a social celebration for you and your boyfriend but I’d suggest wearing your thinking caps and not your party hats.

This is Lisa B. Marshall. Passionate about communication, your success is my business.

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If you have a question, send email to publicspeaker@quickanddirtytips.com. For information about keynote speeches or workshops, visit lisabmarshall.com.


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Coworkers Talking image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.