One of the things that most freaked me out about that party was all the people -- people from divisions of my large company that I had never met before, and guests from other companies. But if you can handle it, get in there and mingle. "Annual holiday parties are a great time to get to know coworkers from other departments or people who are new to the company," says Lauren Chereskin, Client Services Director at Kapow Events. "Approach a new group and introduce yourself! Networking can be beneficial, even at internal events." Remember, they're more afraid of you than you are of them! No, wait, that's bears. But still: joyous surprises await!
Jon Colgan, founder and CEO of CellBreaker, had an interesting encounter at a Christmas party last year hosted by a well-known tech startup. He was talking to one of their superstar programmers -- about goats, since he had raised them as a side business. "He recounted how this one goat used to head butt him constantly when he wasn't looking, to try to dominate him. So, he said that the only way to counteract this behavior was to saddle the goat, take hold of his horns, and to ride the goat around in front of the herd." The programmer also had a peg leg, which Colgan only noticed when returned from the bathroom with some toilet paper stuck to the bottom of it. If you're too shy to talk to people, you miss these opportunities!