Remember the guy from last year’s office holiday party that was spilling his drink on everyone around him? Or the woman who came slinking into the party dressed with very little left to the imagination?
Of course you do! And so does everyone else!
We’ve all heard and/or seen people commit career suicide due to their inappropriate behavior (and dress) at the office holiday party.
Following are my 5 tips to insure you not only survive – but also thrive – at your office holiday party this year.
5 Survival Tips
GO! Don’t even think about blowing this party off!
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it will serve you well to be seen at ‘em.
Really – people will know if you’re not there. Sure, the invitation might say “optional” but you don’t believe everything you read now, do you?
Like it or not, office holiday parties are in many ways business events masquerading as parties. You don’t want your absence to be mis-interpreted as being aloof, a snob and/or not a team player.
(Also, don’t go too early or stay too late!)
Network and make yourself visible! It’s not good enough to just show up. Since you’re already there – you might as well make the most of it.
Take this as an opportunity to socialize with people you normally don’t get a chance to interact with outside office hours. You might be surprised how much you enjoy your colleagues outside the constraints of the workday.
This is also a tremendous opportunity to network with the movers and shakers of your company (i.e., upper management and executives) whom you would normally not have access to.
If you’ve never met them before, make it your business to introduce yourself with a brief introduction and non-work related conversation. But whatever you do, do not self-promote or act like a nudge.
Dress for Success (i.e. appropriately). The office holiday party is not the time to come slinking in with stiletto heels and a low cut blouse – or a stained shirt and tie.
Yes, you are at a party, but it is not the same dress code as it would be if you were at a party with your friends.
If you’re not sure what to wear, the general rule of thumb is the venue determines the dress code. If you are still in doubt (or clueless), ask someone in your office whom you believe will know.
Every office has that someone who seems to know this stuff!
Moderation – of ALL things!
Don’t drink too much, don’t eat too much and don’t talk too much.
I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy but it really is important to remember how you behave at this party may potentially influence how others think about you – and by association, your career trajectory!
You don’t want to be walking around with red meatball sauce dripping down your chin.
And there is nothing funny about being drunk – period.
Avoid speaking too much about anything – especially yourself! Nobody wants to hear about how brilliant your kids are – or their athletic prowess – ad nauseam! They really don’t!
Absolutely no offensive jokes or inappropriate comments – including gossip. Don’t say anything to anyone that you would never dream of saying in a professional environment.
Do not engage in any gossip – at all! (Especially in the bathroom – ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about!)
Avoid all conversational landmines, i.e., politics, religion, and any topic that pushes someone’s emotional “hot” buttons. Now is not the time to solve the immigration issue or the world hunger crisis.
Note: Minimize talking about your work. This may be difficult to do because the one thing everyone in attendance shares is work, but I am sure you can find other similarities.
If someone does ask you about your job, keep your response short and sweet. Remember- less is more. Don’t bore others with the detailed nuances of your work or achievements. Nobody really cares.
DO be Authentic
Be complimentary while being genuine. There must be at least one kind word you can say to everybody!
Absolutely No Inappropriate Romantic Interactions – of any kind. Full Stop!
The office holiday party is a great opportunity to enjoy and hang out with people whom you spend most of your waking hours with. Whether you love or hate these parties, it’s a smart career move to go to them and make the most of them.
All success begins with relationships. Use the office holiday party as a way to develop deeper genuine relationships with your colleagues.
Besides having fun, you might be surprised as to how much it gives your career a boost!
Enjoy yourself while being responsible. As I tell my kids, there are no do-overs!
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