Posts Tagged ‘Holiday party’

How to Network Around the Holidays

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

In today’s post, Learning & Development partner Linda Taylor shares many helpful tips for creating strong networking connections during the busy Holiday season.

Around this time of year, people willingly (or not so willingly) attend company parties, get together with friends and neighbors and usually spend a day or two with their families.  Many people stress about the pressure to make small talk and socialize, especially when they are attending a function with their spouse or significant other.

Here’s an idea that I came across recently:  “Be more concerned with being interested than being interesting.”  So, immediately, this strategy calls for us to be attentive listeners. Now, that may not be too hard if only you can get people to talk in the first place!  When possible and appropriate, take a quick peek at LinkedIn or Facebook and review the basic facts about someone you know you’ll meet at a party.

For instance, look over their education and former employers so you can say, “Hey, I see you are a Tar Heel, too!” or “So I understand you used to live in Dallas.  What was that like?” As people speak, listen for hints as to their passions.  You may probe further as long as it’s not intrusive.  Later, if you run across an article about something that might interest them, pass it along.  They’ll be flattered that you remembered.

But what if you don’t have access to people’s backgrounds beforehand?  You may inquire of your host and ask for an introduction.  Or simply go up and introduce yourself and ask what their connection is to the host or hostess.  “Hi, I’m Jack, I work with Phoebe in the accounting department over at Widgets International.  How do you know the Baileys?” They’ll likely tell you a story about how they met and you can build on that from there.  It goes without saying that you’ll always want to make sure to speak well of everyone.

A little mingling etiquette:

  • If you are approaching someone standing alone, walk up and put out your hand while introducing yourself and asking for their name.
  • If you are approaching two people talking, be more cautious as they may be holding a private conversation.
  • If you are approaching a group of people, simply slide in on the periphery and say hello to the closest person. Ease into the conversation gently and respectfully.
  • When you need to need to extricate yourself, say “Excuse me…I need to freshen my drink” or “Excuse me…I see an old friend I’d like to greet; it has been a pleasure to meet you.”

Always have a ready supply of non-controversial topics at the ready – positive current events (like what’s happening in your home town, sporting news, a play or movie you would recommend or a funny story about how your GPS took you far from your desired destination.)  Dwelling on negative events creates a poor image and leaves you nowhere to take the conversation from there.  As a last resort, comment about the weather and ask the other person what he/she thinks.

Going back to the beginning:  the reason so many people dread socializing and small talk is that they are worried about being witty and impressive.  Instead, this season, focus on others and you’ll have less stress and more fun.  Remember – getting someone to talk about themselves allows them to discuss their favorite subject.  Encourage that and watch the conversation grow from there!

For any further tips on how to effectively network during the Holiday season, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

4 Tips for Hosting an Engaging Holiday Party for Your Employees

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

holiday party foodThrowing your team a holiday party is a great way for your organization to show appreciation for the hard work they contributed to your company throughout the year.

Holiday parties provide several opportunities for your staffers to mix and mingle away from the office, and they can help increase employee engagement. Coworkers will have fun meeting significant others or friends, and people in different departments or at different locations will be able to connect and get to know one another better.

Here are some tips for throwing a great end-of-the-year party to celebrate the accomplishments of your organization and your team:

If you have to talk about work, make it short!

Holiday parties allow you to become better acquainted with your employees and the people in their lives. Congratulating your team for a great year is fine, but going into details about projects or client requests should be avoided. There will always be time to discuss work when you and your team are back in the office.

Have fun with your coworkers

There are several ways you can interject fun at your staff holiday party. Make a list of things your team members will likely enjoy during the event. Whether you exchange gifts, set up a photo booth or invite carolers to sing to the group, encourage your employees to have a good time. Plan a few exciting surprises to have your employees talking well throughout the new year.

Limit the amount of alcohol you provide

Not that you can’t have a good time without alcohol, but offering employees of legal age a drink is generally part of the holiday festivities. Protect your party committee and your employees by providing your guests with no more than two drinks. Getting sloppy at the company party—whether it’s a seasoned manager or a recent hire—isn’t a win for anyone. If you’re serving alcohol, it’s also important to be aware of how each of your employees is getting home, especially if some decide to spend their own money on extra drinks.

Let them know they are appreciated

Make sure that a portion of your holiday party is spent recognizing the efforts your employees have made throughout the year. Appreciating your employees is an important part of the event, and there are a number of ways you can show your gratitude. Some examples include a toast highlighting specific accomplishments made by staff, giving each employee a gift card, and presenting awards to staffers in various categories related to work.

For more holiday planning ideas for your employees, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: OakelyOriginals

6 Tips to Keep Your Company Holiday Party Stress-Free, Safe and Fun

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

With radios blasting seasonal tunes and shopping centers offering big discounts, it’s crystal clear that the holidays are upon us. Throwing your workforce a party during this merry season is a great way to celebrate the time of year and show your team that you appreciate what they do for the company.

A holiday party offers staff members the opportunity to mix and mingle outside the office, which encourages employee interaction and conversations. With all the employee engagement benefits a holiday party can bring, it’s important to note that holiday parties can also have a negative effect on the company if ground rules aren’t set.

Here are six suggestions to consider when planning your holiday celebration:

Give plenty of options

There are two things you should try to accomplish when throwing a holiday party for your team members: to reward them for their efforts and to create a memorable and fun experience for them to have. Spend time preparing for details like location, food and drink options, and entertainment. Leave them excited for next year’s party.

Interject some fun

Whether it’s inviting holiday carolers to sing to your staff or playing a holiday themed icebreaker to get to know spouses and guests, encourage your employees to enjoy themselves. Your staffers are expecting to have a good time with their coworkers.  Get great reviews by planning activities and surprises throughout the night.

Make a drink maximum

Not that you can’t have a good time without alcohol, but offering employees of legal age a drink is generally part of the holiday festivities. To protect your party committee and to advise your employees, provide your guests with no more than two drinks. Getting sloppy at the company Christmas party—whether it’s a seasoned manager or a recent hire—isn’t a win for anyone.

Say thank you

The holiday party happens at the end of the year, which is perfect timing for you to recognize the contributions your staff made during the last 12 months. There are several ways to show your appreciation. A speech highlighting specific accomplishments, awards given to stellar performers, and gift cards for the entire team are only a few ways to recognize your team during the celebration.

Keep work talk to a minimum

Other than congratulating your team for a great year, talking about work should be avoided. Your employees want to have fun and celebrate the season with their coworkers. Use this event to get to know your team members and their friends and spouses better. You can discuss work when you return to the office.

Know how everyone is getting home

Making sure your staffers get home safely is an important part of the planning process. Arrange hotel stays for your team members who don’t work in your local office. Organize cab rides for employees who bought additional drinks and don’t plan to drive home. Be aware of how each employee leaves the party.

For more holiday party ideas for your company, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Qtea