5 Ways to Score March Madness Points at the Office

basketball tournament
By Vicki Salemi

It's that time of year again! The NCAA tournament is in full swing (or, shall we say, full swoosh?), and there are a few ways to make it work to your advantage in the in the office – even if you don't have a clue who's still in it.

1. Read the headlines. If you have an interview scheduled during March Madness, do your homework! It doesn't take long to peruse the box scores and see who's still in the tournament and who was recently upset. Leverage the small talk part of your interview by touching on this topic. Chances are, current events like this national tournament will come up, so you won't want to be left in the dark.

That said, be careful to steer clear of any potential hot buttons, like major rivalries. Become Switzerland with your approach. Sure, it's OK to demonstrate passion for a specific team, but don't bad-mouth anyone else in the process.> Find a job in human resources
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2. Rally the troops. If you're a manager and have noticed morale is a bit low, lean on this tournament to carry your group to a higher level of spirit. Maybe it's time to have an off-site meeting at a local watering hole with the primary purpose to just hang out and watch hoops. Sometimes a little gesture like this can go a long way for both morale and productivity.

3. Take time off. You shouldn't call out sick because a big game is on, but you might as well be 100-percent focused on work or not at all. Your personal days are there for a reason. Don't try to fake your way through the workday by live-streaming games on your work computer and checking the score moreso than your conference calls and spreadsheets. Either work with dignity and without any distractions, or watch the game with dignity and without any distractions.

4. Don't strong-arm uninterested colleagues into caring about March Madness. If your office has a harmless bracket in play and a handful of people aren't into it, don't try to get them to pony up. Some of these people may want to get in on the action so they feel part of the group, even if they don't know much about college hoops. Others could care less. For the latter, let them be. There's no need to force situations at work that, in turn, feel coerced.

Don't exclude anyone in your invitations for a group outing to watch the games, but respectfully accept someone's decision to not participate.

5. Remember: This too shall pass. If you're not into the tournament that seems to overtake every water cooler conversation, don't fret. Enjoy fellow colleagues who don't force the tournament, and revel in the temporary boost in camaraderie. Keep in mind that this is a short-lived journey, and when the last hoop is made and the clock strikes zero, March Madness will come a close and not return for another year.
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