TCG 411: Socializing 2 Success

BBQs Good for Business?

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

It could be in your best interest to attend the company picnic or baseball game this summer. Nearly two-thirds of advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said employees who socialize outside of the office enjoy more productive working relationships.

If you’re like most in-house creatives, you spend 40 hours (or more) with your colleagues each week, so breaking bread with them on your free time may be the last thing on your mind. But spending time with coworkers outside of the office – whether at a BBQ or informal get together – builds camaraderie and can help you make valuable connections throughout the company. It’s also a chance to converse with colleagues face to face – something rare in this technology age.

How can you maximize your time at company events? Here are three ideas:

  • Break out of your bubble. Strike up conversations with those outside of your usual circle – especially those who work in other departments. Have a few non-work topics to bring up, such as summer travel plans or movies.
  • Don’t monopolize anyone’s time. Most people want to mingle, so avoid extended conversations, particularly when talking with executives who may have many people they want to chat with during the event.
  • Have a positive presence. Showing enthusiasm for those around you, whether it’s a pick-up softball game or perfectly grilled burger, can go a long way toward building your professional reputation.

Remember, company events are designed to be fun – so just go with the flow. Even if it means belting out a few tunes during a Rock Band contest or making animal gestures during a game of Charades, cut loose and get into the act. If your colleagues see you having fun and engaging in non-work conversations, you’re sure to build greater relationships both on and off the job.

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at