How to Make the Most of the Company Holiday Party

I just got home from my fourth holiday gathering this week. While I enjoyed each gathering—because I arrived rested, paced myself, aimed for just a few good conversations, took breaks when I needed them, and stayed the right amount of time for me—I’m happy that I’ll have some downtime for the rest of the weekend.

Sheryl Nance-Nash offers five useful pieces of advice in her article “How to Make the Most of the Company Holiday Party,” in The Faster Times. Here’s how each of her points applies to introverts:

Have a plan of action before you go. That’s spot on advice for introverts. Map out ahead of time whom you’d like to be speak with (or get introduced to) and go prepared with a few conversation starters. Er, more than a few people brought up Tiger Woods this week.

Fine tune your elevator pitch. “Don’t give people a ten minute introduction about yourself,” says Nance-Nash. Instead, tell them what you do in a pithy sentence or two. If you’re an introvert, practice your delivery to ensure that you come across as enthusiastic and engaging.

Be prepared for small talk. If you’re an introvert, you’re probably not a big chit chatter. However, a certain amount of it is expected at holiday parties. Go prepared with a few headline news items, fun factoids, or other light fodder that fosters connection. I know, you’d prefer deeper connection with one person at a time. That’s fine. You can do that too. You can also make lunch and coffee appointments for more concentrated discussions in quieter surroundings.

Be generous. Take the spotlight off yourself by focusing on how you can be useful to others. A good way to use your strengths as an introvert is to introduce people to one another, listen to them, and help them solve their problems.

Remember: you’re at work. This is mostly common sense, however, it’s easy to let your guard down after a few holiday toasts. Remember that everything you say or do helps shape your personal brand. Introverts: when you’re finished putting your best foot forward, it’s time to retreat to some quiet time at home.


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