How to Network at Parties

Office parties are a great opportunity to remind your boss and the people who matter, of your existence. Make the right moves, and who knows, you might land a promotion or even a better job.

Chalk Out A Plan

Resolve to network with as many people as you can at the party. If you’re the shy kind, having a plan of action in mind would help you avoid the awkward hovering. Spark conversations with people who might later connect you to the big shots at the party. Stay away from conversations that go on and on as they might rob you of valuable time that you could spend networking with other people.

Make A List

With a couple of drinks down and inhibitions effectively lowered, your mind might come up with interesting anecdotes that might not seem so appropriate the morning after. Make a mental note of four safe topics to resort to when you’re enjoying the happy buzz in your head. By a rule of thumb, avoid stories that start with “You will never believe what I did that one time…”

Hold Your Horses

Although pitching is the top priority for the evening, it’s rude to go at it hammer and tongs. While it might be tempting to brag about your skill sets to your prospective employer while waiting for a drink at the bar, you might end up annoying the person no end. Wait for the conversation to turn to work and then gently slip in your business card – but then, steer back to talking about lighter topics.

Dress, Dine & Drink Right

The ideal dress for an office party must cover about two-thirds of your body. Anything shorter, and you might come across as someone too frivolous for that job in your prospective employer’s mind. Alternate a glass of wine with a soft drink, so that you remain in your senses till the end of the party. While it might be rude to not eat at all, loading your plate with food might not make you look too good either. Make sure you’re not working on a mouthful of potato salad while your boss tries to show you off to one of the guests.

Target The Two’s & Three’s

It’s safer to approach a couple of people and introduce yourself than to try and make your way into a bigger group. Observe the nature of the conversation between the people. If they’re bent towards each other and discussing something intently, stay away for you might not be welcome. Offer a polite greeting and walk away if the group is dull and disinterested. If you’re left hovering, stroll to the restroom and strike up a conversation with the people in the queue.

Leave On Time

The goal is to appear confident and busy. Don’t let people find you drunk and narrating a sad story to the bartender. Leave when you know everyone’s seen you at your best and you haven’t done anything stupid yet. Remember the people you shared your business cards with and make sure you send them a follow up email in a couple of days.

 

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