Written By: Maura Schreier-Fleming
You can make or break your career at the company holiday party. Network and connect with the right people and you may out yourself inline for your next promotion or plum project. Make a fool of yourself and you might get a pink slip for Christmas.
Free food. Free drinks. Lots of people. Are you ready for your company’s holiday party?
Some dread it. Others love the fun you’re at the festive event.
Whether you dread it or not, you had better pay attention to what happens at your holiday party. Your sales career depends on it.
I recently heard something alarming about company holiday parties. A presenter at a conference said that one of her corporate clients told her on average that he fires three people after each holiday party. Why? They drink too much, act inappropriately or say something stupid. In today’s work environment you don’t get a warning when you do things like that. You get fired.
Parties are serious business. You’ve got to behave yourself. If you think you can’t hold your liquor, be sure to have a drink in your hand that’s non alcoholic. I think it’s a much better plan to not drink alcohol at the party even if you can hold your liquor. Why? You may have some savvy management and they make the rounds at the holiday party.
Do you think you would create a better impression mildly buzzed or completely sober? If you think the former, I would suggest you in particular need to be drinking bottled water with a wedge of lime.
Then there’s the question about what you’re supposed to do at the party. You’re not supposed to be a potted plant stuck in one place. Your job is to mingle. Spend a little time with different people.
Why not use the party to go out of your way to meet people in other departments if your party has more than one department represented. Connecting a name and a face is a nice way of making it easier to work together in the future.
You might be wondering what you’re supposed to talk about with people you don’t know very well. Keep the conversation light and festive. A holiday party is not the time to be talking serious business. Unless a manager asks you a specific business related question, your job is to have a few questions ready to speak with anyone.
You could ask whether someone plans to stay in town for the holidays. You might ask if they’re done with shopping. Ask if they found any unusual gifts this year. You can talk with anyone when you have these generic questions.
Careers are made or destroyed at company parties. You can have a good time at your company party. Keeping your job might be the most fun of all.
Maura Schreier-Fleming is the President of Best@Selling. Maura works with business and sales professionals…
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