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Holiday party small talk

Christmas or New Year office party can be a good occasion to meet your colleagues from other departments. Here are some conversation starters that might help you.

  • Introduce yourself

Before you can get to know someone, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself. You can introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know, or to refresh the memory of someone you’ve met before.


“Hello! We always have coffee at the same time but we’ve never spoken before. My name is ….”

 “Hi Paweł. You might not remember me but we met at Christmas party last year. I’m …”

  • “How was your year?”

Having a good year implies you are successful at what you do. You can ask them the same question and draw them out.

  • “How about that project you were in?”

If you know that your colleague has been working on a special project you may ask about it, instead of asking a general question “How is your work?”

  • “What are you drinking?”

People who are fans of wine or single malt enjoy telling the other person about their favorite spirit.

Avoid: “They always serve the cheapest booze at these events.”

  • ”What are you doing for the holidays?”

Some holiday related questions: “Have any travel plans?” “Do you ski?”

Travelling can be an endless topic of conversation, especially in a holiday season.

Avoid: Telling them why you think traveling to the place they just mentioned isn’t a good idea.

  • Opinions about food, features or events

If you are attending a catered event, there’s usually food in abundance, maybe music in the background. In addition to getting their opinion, you can ask for their recommendations: “Anything up there you think I must try?”

  • Universal topics

Things like the weather, current news, sports and entertainment are usually safe, especially when you’re speaking to a group—even if one person doesn’t really watch sports, someone else in the group might.

  • Observations

Some of the best small talk is about where you and your conversation partner are located. Look around and find something to comment on, or look at your partner and find something nice to compliment them on.


“I love your shoes today, they really pull your outfit together.”

  • “How do you know our host?”

If your colleague is having a party for other colleagues there still may be some you don’t know. At parties in private homes, everyone invited should have some connection to the host. Learning who knows who and how can be interesting.