Not everyone loves a good party. In fact, introverts need to approach holiday office celebrations a little differently in order to maximize their benefits.
Introverts perceive and approach the world a little differently than extroverts do. Some kinds of activities, like office holiday parties, can pose a challenge.
But, it’s important to remember as an introvert, you have your strengths in the workplace. Playing to these positive qualities, rather than trying to participate in the event the way the extroverts do, is the key to success.
If you consider yourself to be an introvert, here are some specific tips that can help you make the most of this year’s office holiday party.
1. Think one-to-one
Introverts often feel more comfortable interacting with others on a one-to-one basis that they do when they’re a part of a big group. Yes, a holiday party is a larger gathering. However, there is absolutely no reason that you can’t focus in on more personal interactions while you’re there.
You shouldn’t feel like you’re doing something wrong if you spend most of the holiday party in deep conversation with just a few people. That’s a great way to network.
2. Plan downtime
Introverts need time alone to recharge their energies. (That’s actually what defines and differentiates them. Extroverts tend to recharge through interacting with others.) Consider this need when setting up your schedule around your company’s holiday party.
Be sure to schedule some me-time to just be quiet and get some rest on your own both before and after the event. If you can, take the night before and after off. Enjoy taking those evenings for yourself. That will help you be at your best for the occasion. And, it will help you to recover from it quickly too.
3. Ask a lot of questions
Remember, people love to talk about themselves. So, be sure to ask a lot of questions during your holiday party interactions.
When someone tells you a long story, follow up by asking for more information, for example. Many people will be only too glad to share.
Talking with an introvert can be a little different. So, play to your strengths and stay interested and engaged longer than others might. You’ll make a good impression, and strengthen your relationships, by showing others how genuinely curious about them you really are.
4. Find a friend
It’s a great idea to use your office holiday party as an opportunity to get to know some of the folks that you work with a little bit better. However, there’s nothing wrong with spending a little time with a solid work friend while you’re there, too.
If you’re close enough, you might even consider confiding in your pal that you’re a little nervous about the event in advance. A good friend will help by encouraging and supporting you. They may be able to act as a social buffer.
5. Come up with some topics for discussion in advance
Preparing some ideas ahead of time could help you to feel more comfortable interacting during your holiday party. So, do some brainstorming in advance.
Think of at least three topics of conversation that you can discuss with anyone. Maybe you can talk about the renovation you’re doing to your home, or about an upcoming work trip that’s on the horizon.
The topics themselves don’t matter much. What’s important is having a couple ideas in your pocket that you can pull from during conversational lulls. Having these topics prepared in advance can go a long way toward helping you feel comfortable.
6. Don’t think of it as networking
The concept of networking is sort of a little icky. There’s something about the word, and the idea, that feels kind of inauthentic. But, there is a way to network without the yuck factor.
The first step is to remember that networking is just a fancy name for getting to know people. As an introvert, you’re probably a great listener and enjoy building meaningful relationships.
Therefore, don’t think of your holiday party as a “networking event.” Instead, try reframing it as simply an opportunity to get to know the folks you work with a little better.
7. Set a time limit
You don’t have to shut the party down in order to be successful at your holiday gathering. In fact, you might have an easier time staying present if you set a time to leave before you arrive.
Knowing that you’ll only be there for two and a half hours, for example, can help you stay grounded and engaged. Just don’t check your watch too often.
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