4 Conversation Starters To Get You Through This Holiday Party Season
Depending on your past experiences, company parties can either spark excitement or dread.
No matter what your initial outlook may be, the time is here again for company parties. And you may have even more than your own to attend: you’ve probably gotten an invite to your spouse’s or friend’s company party, too.
But this year, you’ve decided to be prepared.
If you’re seeking conversation starters that are both professional and engaging for your next company party, we’ve got your back this holiday season.
Take a peek at these 4 perfect conversation starters to make you a networking pro at the next company holiday party — plus bonus conversation tips sure to make you a hit!
“Isn’t this decor beautiful?”
It’s tough to tell what you and someone else may have in common by simply looking at them. And it can be awkward to dive into personal questions right off the bat.
The one thing you’re guaranteed to have in common? Location.
Referring to the decor surrounding you opens a platform for input, whether it be on the decor itself or other happenings you’re both experiencing at the party.
Addressing your shared location by complimenting your surroundings not only points out this commonality and makes both parties a bit more present, but shows you’re a positive person who enjoys pointing out the lovely things in life.
“How did you meet?”
The key to starting a conversation that will continue to flow is asking open-ended questions that are bound to lead to stories.
That’s why “how did you two meet?” is a perfect conversation starter if you or you and a partner are meeting or getting to know a new couple.
This question opens up a way for you to follow up with stories of your own, putting you on the fast track to a good chat.
Pay close attention to their story, gather clues of what drives them as people, and search for a commonality.
If you and your spouse are looking for friends, this conversation could also be a great way to plan a double date!
“Have you been to any great new restaurants lately?”
This one comes as a recommendation from Debi Lilly, event designer and author of A Perfect Event: Inspired, Easy Elegance for Every Occasion.
Lilly states, “I find everyone likes to eat and talk about eating and share what and where they’ve been eating.”
And she’s right! According to a Waitrose survey, over 1/2 of people aged 18-34 post pictures of food on their social media.
Asking about great restaurants helps add some specificity to the conversation, which reduces the likelihood of the conversation stalling due to indecision. It also keeps the conversation on a positive track, and tells you a bit more about the preferences and personality of the other person
“I noticed you ___ .”
Fill in the blank to make this statement a genuine compliment. For example, you could say, “I noticed you got a haircut recently. It looks great!” or “I noticed your sales have skyrocketed this month. Good for you!”
This is a great opener for people in the office you don’t know very well, and also for coworkers with whom you may have butted heads in the past and want to get a fresh start.
A genuine compliment shows that you respect your coworker’s presence in the workplace, even if you tend to disagree on certain topics.
Just be sure to keep the tone friendly and genuine. Tone is everything, and if you’re still stewing over how long it took them to email you back last week, your tone is bound to turn sour.
3 More Ways to Be a Hit at Your Next Office Party
1. Honor Your Introversion or Extroversion
One of the main keys to maintaining the energy to converse is to know how you work in a social setting.
If you’re an introvert, be sure to take small breaks to recharge. Excuse yourself for a bathroom break and snack refresher, or to step outside for fresh air and get a few moments of quiet to reassemble your thoughts.
If you’re an extrovert, remember to pause and listen before moving on to the next topics. It can be easy to do all the talking and dominate conversations if you’re naturally talkative, but the best conversations are an equal give-and-take!
Remember to ask specific, open-ended questions that allow for conversational flow. “Yes” or “no” questions tend to have boring answers, and no one enjoys boring conversations!
2. Avoid These Topics
Since you’re getting to know people in a professional environment, it’s best to avoid topics like religions, politics, and office gossip.
These can lead to a conflict that reaches beyond healthy debate, and tend to build protective walls that prevent getting to know someone better.
3. Mind Your Body Language
Another key to quality workplace party conversation is body language, both paying attention to your own and the body language of the person you’re chatting up.
Maintain eye contact, keep your arms in an open position (uncrossed), and be sure to nod and make appropriate facial expressions in response.
Looking for more ways to relax and fully enjoy the many parties and gatherings this holiday season? Gain some tips on taking care of your mind, body and soul so you can enjoy a stress-free holiday this year >