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Take the Stress out of Holiday Parties with these Small Talk Tips

It’s that time of year again. With the holiday season comes a slew of festive work events and office parties. Company holiday parties and other work events can be a great opportunity to network and make new connections, however,  that can be easier said than done!  Check out our four tips below for mastering the art of small talk and take the anxiety out of your next holiday gathering!

  • Use Group Dynamics: It’s often easier to join a group conversation than start talking with someone one-on-one. If you see a group you’d like to join, stand at the edge and try to make eye contact. In most cases, someone will back up slightly to allow you to join. Wait for an appropriate moment, and ask a question to enter the conversation.
  • Start with People You Know: You can also use common acquaintances to start an interaction. If you see someone you know talking with someone you’ve never met, wait for an appropriate break in the conversation, then approach your friend and say “hi”. If your friend doesn’t introduce you to the other person, simply introduce yourself. A great follow up to generate conversation is to ask how the two know each other.
  • Listen: Once you have a conversation going, genuinely listen to your partner. Networking events can make it tempting to scan the room to see who is in attendance that you want to talk to. But if you’re only half involved in the conversation, you are likely to alienate your partner and leave the impression that you are rude and self-involved. Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Be an active listener by nodding and interjecting occasional short responses such as “really?” or “uh-huh”.
  • Don’t Linger: Staying and dragging a conversation out after it has naturally ended can become awkward, but many people are unsure how to end a conversation tactfully. Once a conversation has run its course and information has been exchanged, politely excuse yourself. The exit can be made more graceful by giving a brief reason for moving on, such as saying you need to say ‘hello’ to a colleague or get a drink.

Use these four tips to enjoy the holiday season!

If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at jayne@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

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