Talk too much about yourself or have too many cocktails, and the office holiday party can turn into a disaster.
It doesn’t have to be that way, consultant and author Andrew Sobel says.
Go in armed with a few “power questions,” and you can leave having strengthened key relationships.
Power questions are those that engage others more deeply, said Sobel, co-author with Jerold Panas of “Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business and Influence Others.” He suggests planning ahead of time, and offers some suggestions:
Instead of gossiping, ask: “What was the most fulfilling experience you had this year?” Or: “How did you get your start?”
“So what’s on your agenda in your work for next year?” Or: “If you suddenly had a couple of extra hours per week outside of work, how would you spend them?”
“What’s your favorite movie of all time?” Or variations such as favorite restaurant; favorite book someone has read in the last couple of years; or favorite way to relax.
“When you were younger, how did your family spend the holidays?” “What are your plans this year?” “If you hadn’t gone into (business, law, banking, medicine, teaching, etc.), what do you think you might have done?”
Things not to ask or say
Remarks about appearance or dress to the opposite sex; questions about the status of the other person’s relationships; anything that wouldn’t pass the “light of day” test if reported the next day at the office.