Company Christmas parties can be a minefield for most people. Free food and a free bar plus music, dancing and the festive spirit means that everyone is much more inhibited than they would usually be. This can lead to conversations and truths being told which would never normally see the light of day. For introverts this situation can feel like torture! Here are three tips to help you navigate your party successfully:
Walking in to a room full of people who may have had quite a few drinks can be really intimidating to even the most confident person. A good idea before you enter the party is to engage in power body language in private, either a hotel room or even a bathroom cubicle. A study by Harvard business school looked at two groups of interviewees. They were both given the same amount of time to prepare for the interview but the second group of participants were also given a few minutes training in power body language. Power body language is where you make your body expansive, and claim space, head back chest out like the wonder woman or superman poses. Experts assessed the interviews and found the second group to be higher in overall performance, hire ability and presence.
What is amazing is that just a few minutes of power posing training can increase your credibility, performance and how influential you are! Harness this for yourself when talking to your bosses and colleagues at your party by pre-power posing to build your confidence and this may make you feel more confident but also allow others to see you as more confident.
Making a grand entrance
Now you have pre-power posed the last thing you want to do is sneak into the room and hide in the corner. I am guilty of rushing into the room and heading to the bar in the hopes that a drink will settle my nerves. Most people believe that a first impression is made from the first time you speak to someone. This isn’t correct, your first impression is made in the first few seconds that someone sees you. Your first impression creates a lasting impression so don’t hide in the corner like a wallflower or at the bar not making eye contact with anyone. Instead walk with your head high and scan the room for people you know or want to introduce yourself to. Be confident, walk like a winner with open body language (no arms crossed!) and avoid self-soothing gestures such as rubbing or wringing your hands as this displays your inner nerves.
It’s that awkward moment when you come face to face with your boss or one of the top bosses at the Christmas party. You are both making small talk and secretly in your head you are telling yourself not to say anything stupid. A top tip to maintain your credibility even when you may feel a little awkward is to keep a power gaze. A power gaze is when we make a triangle with our eyes on the upper half of the face, essentially eye, eye, forehead. Keeping your gaze high will ensure that you aren’t appearing submissive and send signals of authority and credibility. You never know this could be enough to make your top bosses remember you when it comes to promotion or a new project.
As the party starts to get into full swing and more drinks have been consumed conversations can spring up between you and other guests. If you notice that someone you are talking to are dropping their gaze to your upper chest, this is a good indication that they are at least assessing you as a potential mate! If you wish to reciprocate this, then by all means drop your gaze also which signals to the other party that you are interested. However if you are not interested in have a romantic relationship at all (and this can be very tricky when also working together) it is time to make a swift exit. I suggest that you make an excuse and head to the bar, dancefloor or toilets whatever works for you to avoid an awkward moment on the return to work!
I hope that these tips help you have a Christmas party to remember, let me know which ones you were able to put into practice. Happy Holidays!