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An Annual Ritual: The Company Holiday Party

HolidayParty1Today I went to an annual ritual enjoyed by many in the corporate world. Today was my company’s annual holiday party. Complete with raffles, cash bar and plenty of food, the atmosphere was ripe for mingling between colleagues. What I personally never fail to notice is how many people come to such parties and then basically sit by themselves with maybe one other colleague. At a similar company party many years ago, I asked one of my then colleagues, who told me he preferred sitting by himself most of the time, why come to the event then? His answer was, “To be seen.” He wanted others, especially upper management, to see that he was a team player and that he goes out of his way to be at the company party. I couldn’t help but be a little surprised and puzzled by his rational!

That answer stuck with me for a while because here was someone who I respected as a colleague. He was smart in his work and always got the job he was responsible for done. But at the same time I couldn’t help but wonder really as to why even come to the company party if you’re not going to, at the very least, mingle.

One of the biggest benefits of going to company holiday parties is that it gives people the great opportunity to have face to face time with company personnel at all levels. There is no other place that a person can have such an opportunity within the company all at one location. Today I was able to find people who I used to work with a couple of years ago and quickly catch up. It was also nice to run into people I usually converse with via email or phone call and have a face to face conversation. But one of my favorite things to do at company parties (in addition to what I just mentioned) is introduce people I know to other people that I know. I’ve been asked why do this if they don’t necessarily work with each other? The reason is to help place a name with a face. This has provided the people I’ve introduced with information they can use at a later time if it turns out that one of them actually needs something from the department the other person works in. There have been plenty of times when I’ve needed to find out something or get something done where a person I was introduced to earlier was able to help me out. If I hadn’t met that person earlier, via an introduction from someone else, I may not have been able to get some things done in as timely a manner as they were done. Another, big advantage of attending company parties, such as the annual holiday party, is that you get the opportunity to meet your boss’s, boss’s , boss. Believe it or not, the executive a couple of tables over from where you’re sitting is there so that she can meet the people who are on her team and get to know them.

So if you do in fact go to your company’s holiday party this year, or any other company get together that would occur after work, don’t just be seen! Get out there and enjoy the opportunity to meet face to face with your colleagues of all levels. Chances are they’ll appreciate you coming over and having a conversation with them. If you’re looking to move up in the company, the ability to talk with others at a company party will give a better impression than if you simply sat at a table and spoke only to the same person for the entire time!

What do you do at company holiday parties?

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