From Carol Kinsey Goman:
Are you planning to attend your office holiday party? I hope so. This is a great occasion to relax and have a good time — and can be a highly anticipated, positive antidote to year-end stress. But anytime you combine fun with professionalism, it can also be a challenge. Here are ten tips to insure that you make a great impression while you mix and mingle at the office party.
The way you greet your fellow party-goers can have a huge impact on their perception of you. The best party introductions combine business information with a personal twist. An example would be: “Hi, I’m Stacy/Steven from Marketing. I’ve been with XYZ for just a few months, and this is the first social event I’ve attended. It’s so nice to meet co-workers face-to-face.”
Behavioral Investigator, Vanessa Van Edwards, advises stationing yourself near the end of the bar so that, as people exit with a drink in hand, you can start a conversation with something as simple as “Hi, is the red wine good?” Her second favorite place to stand is at the end of the buffet line, so that right after people fill their plate you can invite them to join you in finding a place to sit. She also notes that you can easily see by people’s body language which folks are searching for a place to go (or scanning the room for a friendly face) and would welcome the invitation.
Some nonverbal behaviors can bring out the best in people. Smiling is one of them, as it directly influences how other people respond. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.
You probably knew that. But did you also know that slow onset smiles lead to even more positive reactions? So, rather that approaching people with a grin, begin with a slight smile and let it grow organically. And don’t close off. If you want people to see you as comfortable and approachable, don’t cross your arms and legs or use objects (your drink or plate of food) as a barrier. Doing so makes you look guarded or insecure. Instead, hold your glass or plate to the side of your body so that the core of your body is exposed.
Above all, resist the urge to check your email or texts. Instead give other party-goers your full attention. (This is a great time to improve your eye contact by making a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you speak with at the event.)
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