This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Learn more

Office party survival

Master the art of small talk

Office party survival

Follow these guidelines from social skills specialist Peter Spalton ( and you need never endure an awkward silence around a tinsel-decked photocopier again…

Use body language “Show you’re interested in what your co-worker is saying. Look at them while they speak, rather than staring at the TV, and smile.”

Listen “There is a technique I teach called ‘Parroting’, which is essentially repeating the last word or phrase someone has said. So, if the person says, ‘I’ve just got back from Skiathos,’ you reply, ‘Oh, Skiathos.’ This triggers them to keep talking, plus it shows you’ve been listening and you’re interested.”

Avoid gossip “At events like these, avoid office gossip where possible. You may not know the person you’re speaking to particularly well, and you don’t want to be complaining about someone, only to discover you’re talking about their best friend.”

Know when to leave “If the conversation dries up, don’t stick around. Give an excuse, then leave. One of the best ‘rescue plans’ is to have a drink but never fill it up. That way, you’re always one sip away from escape.”

(Image: Rex Features)


Related Reviews and Shortlists