Oh man, it ‘s easy to get caught up in our busy lives. And then just as the holidays roll around and we expect to slow down…BAM, Christmas Parties!
Over the next few weeks, you most likely will be busy trying to see everyone and not miss their events. The holidays should be a time for relaxing, giving, sitting by the fire, and all that other stuff. But why does it feel like every year, it gets more overwhelming?
Well, here are some ways to make the most of your holiday events, by truly connecting with others.
1) Be totally present with others
I gave a presentation last week and this idea was probably the most discussed point afterwards. How easy it is to be focused on ourselves and our own issues, insecurities, and ego. Waiting for our turn to speak, or being distracted by the next shiny thing. We all know that feeling when someone is talking to us while looking past us at something else. Where we feel as though we are sort of a road-side bathroom on their way to something more interesting. Well, don’t YOU be that person either! When you are speaking with someone, give them your absolute, undivided attention. Eye contact, smile, paraphrase, LISTEN! Connect. Effective communication seems to be a lost art.
2) Discuss goals without guilt or judgment
This is the time of year for reflection on your progress in many ways. And it is great talking with others about how you did or didn’t accomplish goals throughout the year. It is also human nature to make excuses and feel guilty about our results, so don’t fall into that trap. Just know that everyone feels this way. Turn your vulnerability into a strength! Discuss the lessons you have learned and make others feel better about themselves in the process. Be open about that workout program you only did 30 out of 90 days for. Or that time you quit drinking for 4 days, instead of a month. But talk about ways you could improve the following year. Make it fun, and make it okay to fail. But fail forward together!
3) Ask GOOD questions
“What about that weather we’re having?” or “Did you see that football/soccer/hockey game?” BARF. Or the dreaded, “So WHAT do you do?” if you are meeting someone for the first time. Interesting people ask interesting questions. (But also don’t sound like a weirdo). Get into a dialogue about your favorite TV shows as a kid, or debate the merits of country music. Ask people what their biggest win of this year was and why. Ask them what next year has in store for them. Share with them a guilty pleasure you had this year and what theirs may be. Stuff like that. But before you go out, really think about some fun questions to ask that will get conversation started. Which was your favorite Uncle in Full House? Why?
4) Slow down
This one is HUGE! We get wrapped up and moving at such a frantic pace, that we forget to breathe all December. Now is the time to just pause. Walk slower. Slow down your speech. Breathe. Take your time and just…
5) Enjoy each moment
You’re in a meeting and you’re thinking about the next meeting you have to go to, or the one you just had. Then you get to your next meeting and think about the one you just had, and what you need to do later. This just keeps repeating! Does this sound familiar? Well, take the time to really FOCUS on what you are doing in the moment right now. As you read this, are there other things trying to steal your attention? Of course!
Well, take time to pause, reflect, and just look around, dammit! Look at the people around you. Look at the time someone spent decorating their home or business. See the smiles and laughter. And then SMILE yourself. It is hard to stop and appreciate beauty with our busy lives, but you MUST build that into your habits. There is so much to be grateful for, and now is the time of year to let others know how much you care and just be PRESENT. That will be the best gift you can give.
6) Stay off your damn phone
Actually, THIS is the best gift you can give others. Park your smartphone. Where ever you are, just be there. Unless it is an emergency, leave the phone alone. Nothing drives me more crazy than a room full of people with digitally lit up faces, pretending to listen. So this year, make it a faux pas to have the phone out.
And no one really wants to see all your Christmas Party pics. Just enjoy the time with people and forget about sharing on Facebook.
And I just saw this video today that was perfect!
Happy Holidays and I look forward to seeing everyone out connecting!
I would love to hear some of your hilarious holiday party stories. Post them in the comments below.
Image by Beatnik Photos