Walk down any UK high street at this time of year and you will be bombarded with seasonal offers, treats, ideas and temptations. And one thing that always stands out in the shop windows is the vast amount of glittery dresses and sequined jumpers. It is the party season! Office parties, team parties, events for donors, supporter thank you parties, supplier schmoozing parties, fundraising parties. Work parties are a brilliant place to practice your communication skills and develop your personal presence. They can also be great networking opportunities – the chance to speak to people you don’t work closely with, and to find out more about each other.
But it is not always easy. At a recent Developing Personal Presence programme, I asked our participants what their top tips would be in a work party situation. This is what they told me:
There is nothing quite like a free bar to loosen people up. But no matter how much the booze flows, or how many tiny nibbles you can eat, a work party is still a work event. Have you even been at a party where a well-respected colleague relaxed a bit too much? Found out things you really didn’t want to or need to know? Remember, this is an opportunity to get to know people, and for them to get to know you. Think about the version of you that you want them to meet. Read our article here to help you think about your personal party brand:
Whether it’s a pub, sit down meal or a disco – being able to start, hold and maintain conversations will ensure you have a great time. How many times have you been to a party and been stuck either with a Silent Sally or a Boring Bob? Or maybe that’s you? To have a better time, try engaging people in comfortable conversation. Read here for our insights on building rapport with people: https://www.managementcentre.co.uk/building-rapport-6/
Parties will naturally mean that there are a mix of personalities, traits, thoughts and beliefs in the room. And so people will be present who have different communication styles. Have you ever been to a party where people just don’t seem to understand each other? When two people communicate using different styles, they share information, ideas and thoughts in a way that the other person finds hard to process. This can cause misunderstanding, confusion and at worst, conflict. Nobody wants friction at a party. This can be avoided if you adapt your communication style to suit others’: https://www.managementcentre.co.uk/influence-your-manager/
And finally, remember to have fun. You’ve worked hard all year and deserve it. Just know when it is time to go home.