It’s that time of year again:  New Years and Christmas!  Which means:  Office parties and family dinners!

It’s a time of year when many of us see family that we typically don’t see, party with co-workers we typically wouldn’t drink in front of, and attend networking events that are a bit more elaborate than the rest of the year.  Sure, we’re not all literally on stage during these activities, but we all feel like it.  It’s a time of year when we all feel more on edge.  Which, makes it a time of year that you can take advantage of everyone’s edgy feelings and become a bit closer by being more sensitive.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Make sure you keep the tone light and happy.  You’re at a celebration!  This is not the time to talk about what has been done wrong.  It’s also a time of year when people are more on edge thinking about seeing their families, what they need to do to close out the end of the year, pressure to buy presents, etc.
  • Make a little bit more effort to be friendly.  Say people’s names after they first introduce themselves to you.  Ask more questions of each other.  Many feel on edge during the holidays, the more interest you take in someone else, the better it will be for you professionally and personally.  People are also a bit more open in general.
  • Don’t drink too much.  I know, ti’s hard, especially since there will be so much free alcohol around.  If you feel the pressure to have a glass in your hand the whole time, switch to soda with a lime so you look like you’re drinking.  Again, people are on edge and there is pressure to be lighter.  It’s a good time to keep a bit of control so you can do that.  You’re still in a professional setting after all.  It’s very easy to say that one thing that probably shouldn’t have left your head when your inhibitions are reduced.
  • When giving toasts, thank as many individuals as you can.  This is the time of year when people are looking to be appreciated and are feeling more sensitive overall.  If you have too many individuals to thank (no one wants to listen toa huge list of names), throw up a slide with all of the names or thank entire initiatives, being as specific as possible without showing favoritism.

Hopefully these couple of tips will help alleviate some of your anxiety as you make your way through the holiday circuit.