I’ve seen it so many times. Careers are made and lost year after year at holiday parties. Do you want to be the one selected for the next promotion? You can be. It’s up to you to be charming at your business holiday party.
Have the right focus.
You may have experienced this at a previous business function. You are talking with someone you just met. There are many groups of people around you and new people are coming to the event. You think you’re in the midst of an interesting conversation with the person you just met. And then, the person you’re speaking with looks away from you and scans the room. What’s he looking for? A better opportunity? That’s what I think. What’s wrong with that? Everything.
The only one you focus on when you are in a conversation with someone is that person. It is irrelevant that other more (or less) interesting or powerful people come into the room. It is simply not charming to be scanning the room looking for a better opportunity while speaking with someone.
This annoying habit is far more common than you would think. I won a significant sales award when I worked for a major corporation. The Vice President of Sales attended to congratulate the winners. He was the most important person in the room. Yet, as he’s speaking with me he’s scanning the room! What a missed opportunity it was for him. Would I have thought more of him and the company had he paid attention to me? Of course. I thought far less of him after we spoke.
You are saying to the person that you’re speaking with that he is simply not important when you scan the room looking for other people. Other people are not going to have a positive impression of you. Is that the impression you want to create?
It’s not about you.
Imagine that you’re having a conversation with someone. You tell the listener about a great sales call you made or a success you had with a customer. Instead of congratulating you on your success and asking you to tell him more about it, the listener tells you about one of his successes. What would you think of the listener? I’ll bet it’s not much. You certainly would not think of that person as charming.
It’s very natural to think the conversation is always about us. It’s not. Your job as a listener is to listen. It’s to learn more about the speaker and remember that the conversation is not about you. A good conversation is when both people ask questions. Sometimes we forget when others ask us about ourselves. We forget to ask about them. Charming people never forget to ask about other people. People that are charming are perceived that way because they are comfortable in their own skins and don’t have to have every conversation revolve around themselves.
Don’t get so caught up in a conversation when you’re talking about yourself that you forget to ask about the other person. Also, don’t be disappointed if the other person does not ask you about your experiences. Most people, unfortunately, are not charming. They forget that it’s not about them so they forget to involve others in the conversation.
Holiday parties are great opportunities to relax and get to know the people you work with. Try to avoid talking about business problems and stick to lighter more positive subjects. You want to be remembered when the party is over as someone who is talented and nice. It’s often said that people buy from people they like. They also promote the ones they like, too. Be charming at your holiday party this year. Perhaps at next year’s party you might be celebrating your promotion.