Six Great Tips to Survive Holiday Party Schmooze Season

by Debra Shigley

Office Holiday Party

Especially in this economy, a big part of getting ahead is first "getting out there" and networking. Ever wondered how some people make it look so easy - and seem to effortlessly work a room? Well, many times, those folks aren't the most confident or outgoing in the world; they just know a few tricks for how to schmooze.

The ability to charm everyone in the room can be learned. With the holiday party season right around the corner, here are the top six ways to mingle like a pro:

  1. Don't drink too much: A couple drinks to "lubricate" the situation is okay. But whether it's a professional or social event, you don't want to let your guards down completely.

  2. Listen more than you talk: Studies show that when you ask people questions about themselves "rather than talk about yourself" they come away from the conversation with a more favorable impression of you!

  3. Gather your "social currency" beforehand: Nobody just magically has interesting things to talk about. You need to read up on current events/ pop culture, watch popular movies and tv shows, go to new places and "bookmark" things that are compelling conversation starters.

  4. Break the ice. Yes, you can do it: Paying someone a compliment ("I love those shoes!"), commenting on the food or scenery, or asking the other person how he/she knows the host are easy ways to jump start the conversation.

  5. Stay on message - even if that means being silent: Don't feel the need to fill up awkward silences with complaints or negative gobbledygook about your personal life or mean-spirited work gossip.

  6. Don't be desperate: Be natural, and don't hound someone for a job, contact or favor. Establish rapport, get their contact info, and follow-up later.

Debra Shigley is a journalist and author of the book The Go-Getter Girl's Guide (St. Martin's Griffin). She completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard and her JD at Georgia State, the latter while working full-time as an editor for Atlanta magazine. She has been featured as a lifestyle expert on national outlets such as The View, CNN, ABC News, and been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AJC, Redbook, and many more. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Fast Company, Allure, Daily Candy, and Heart & Soul. You can buy her new book on Amazon: The Go-Getter Girl's Guide: Get What You Want in Work and Life (and Look Great While You're at It).
Editor's Note: See this article from WorkAlpha for more insights on how to network during the holiday season: Networking Tips for the Holiday Season: Tis the Season for Networking Gold.

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