You're probably thinking to yourselves, how on earth is Happy Hour going to help me in my career!
Guess what - it's networking and once you know how to work the room to your advantage, it can do wonders for your career. Happy hour can be the perfect place for the busy career woman to meet new people and make a stellar impression.
Have a stack of your business cards, and get ready to do some networking for Happy Hour. You can attend your office’s happy hour and build relationships with your colleagues and even upper management. But it’s not all about drowning your sorrows or rehashing the latest office drama over drinks. There are ways to utilize these after-hours conversations to boost your career.
TALK TO SOMEONE NEW
We all know the people we constantly work or chat with around the coffee machine and in the common areas, but happy hour is the time to chat with someone new. Strike up a conversation with that person you see in the halls, but don’t really know. Ask them questions—what they do at your company, who do they work with/for, what are their career ambitions are, and what do they like to do in their spare time? You never know who that person knows. Heck, they might even share your love of cooking, reading presidential biographies, or training for marathons.
TALK TO HIGHER UPS
It’s a happy hour, so mingle! You don’t have to sit and have an hour-long conversation with one person. After you have had a decent conversation with someone new, move on and talk to the highest level executive there.
This will be great one-on-one face time for you, and will show that you’re willing to talk to anyone. Ask her how she/he feels about where the department/company is headed, and throw in your thoughts, as well. She/he may share your opinion with her colleagues, and give you insight on how to get more involved.
SHARE YOUR IDEAS
No matter who you’re talking to, if you start talking about a subject that lights a fire in you, share your ideas. If you stumbled upon a conversation about the location for your next company team building exercise and you had a great experience somewhere, say it! You’ll get instant feedback and maybe even approval for you to plan the next event.
Be aware that office etiquette still applies, so don’t throw anyone under the bus—but now’s your chance to brainstorm and share ideas in a much more comfortable, laid back environment.
BUY A ROUND
Everyone loves someone who is generous. If there’s a small enough group there—and you can truly afford it—offer to buy a round of drinks. If someone says no, don’t pressure them. This will have an opposite effect than you intended.
Obviously you can’t do this at every happy hour, but if this becomes a regular event, your group will most likely start taking turns. Everyone is more likely to help out someone who has done something nice for them previously.
Next time a group of your coworkers stop by your desk around 5 PM, tag along even if you’re tired. You never know where your newfound camaraderie will take you. And at the very least, you’ll have more fun people in your network!
With Love | Nikki xo