December 11, 2013, 1:00 PM — Research shows no one wants to attend the company holiday party, but Harvard Business Review says the dreaded annual outing is an event you can use to further your career. (And, no, not through blackmail pics.)
Time coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders tells HBR that your main goal at the party is not enjoying the food and beverage. Now, don't get too sad, it's all for a good cause:
"An office holiday party serves a different function than one with your family or friends," she notes. "It is…about spending time with key individuals who you can’t connect with organically because they’re in a different functional area or located at different offices."
At the party, Saunders advises you step outside your comfort zone, aka your regular lunch cronies and/or office pals, and sidle up to people who are hard to reach or whom you never see - but want to.
"If you find it impossible to schedule a meeting with certain individuals because of their packed calendar but you know they’ll be at the event, reach out to them in advance," she says. "Suggest meeting up for a drink before the party or simply let them know you’ll be at the event and looking for them. If you want to meet new people but don’t know who to approach, pay attention to which people are the center of attention in the different groups or who are making lots of introductions."
Now, targeting people you want to meet for professional gain requires more nuance than finding them and monopolizing their time at the dessert table. You will come off as obvious and obnoxious, two traits we're pretty sure are the opposite of what you want.
Click below for Saunders' advice on how to meet/socialize with key colleagues in the most beneficial, natural way.