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Party Time Is The Right Time To Enhance Your Career


END-OF-YEAR parties sometimes end in career disaster. That’s why so many stories circulate about improper approaches to the opposite sex, excessive drinking and unguarded comments to the boss.

Less well known is the office party’s potential for career enhancement.

It takes planning, but it is possible for the smart, career-focused executive to enjoy the event and meet important goals.

You simply approach the office party as you would any other corporate activity.

You always prepare for big client presentations. Similar preparation for the annual shindig turns it into a career opportunity as well as fun.

Here are nine tips on purposeful partying …

Dress to impress: Ascertain the dress code and dress appropriately. Informal or party wear may be allowed, but don’t go overboard. Show good taste.

Be prepared: Have handy conversational topics ready. Try to foresee ticklish situations (perhaps meeting a colleague who missed the promotion you got), and have a response ready. If you’re taking a partner, brief them on the event and suggest some do’s and don’ts.
Manage your time: Make time for the function, don’t “squeeze it in” or treat it as a waste of time. Arrive promptly. Being “fashionably late” shows disrespect for others and positions you as a snob or killjoy.

Moderation in everything: Join in and loosen up, but don’t over-indulge. It may be an open bar, and the chairman or CEO may have encouraged guests to make full use of it, but exercise a little restraint. Often, a discreet show of personal control will be quietly observed by the boss.

Mingle: Don’t just chat to immediate colleagues or schmooze the boss. Also chat to junior personnel and those from other departments. Show a genuine interest in people. Ask (sometimes prepared) questions that indicate you have an interest in everything happening in the organisation, but also have an interest in family matters and issues outside work.

Be positive: Don’t be a scandal-monger, don’t gossip, never whine and don’t talk behind someone’s back. Find something nice to say – about people, the company and the past year.

Be friendly and courteous: Make sure others are not excluded. Practise your listening skills. Show interest in others. Never monopolise the conversation. Don’t always talk shop. Show you have other facets to your character and other interests.

Network, but discreetly: A corporate event allows you to strengthen or enlarge your personal network. Chat to a broad range of guests and colleagues, even make time for those you may not like. It’s the season of goodwill, after all. Sometimes fences can be mended and misunderstandings cleared up.

Have fun: But never go overboard. Show you’re human. Don’t show your wild side.
After the event, carry out a self-appraisal.

If you performed well, you contributed to the firm’s talent retention strategy by ensuring junior colleagues feel valued, you showed top management you can socialise with a diverse range of people, you networked and you entrenched your personal positioning as an approachable, interesting individual who knows how to unwind.

Put ticks in these boxes and you had a great party!

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