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Top Tips to Navigating the Office Party

December 8, 2010

Is your company hosting a holiday party?  This year more employers will host holiday parties than they have in the past three years.  Sixty percent of organizations intend to host corporate events off-site, up ten percent from 2009, according to a November poll by the Society for Human Resource Management.

There may be fewer workers and the parties may be more modest. Even though, it is a good idea to remember the office holiday party is a business event not the place to let loose — and lose focus on your purpose and your image.   You are still on stage.

An appropriate outfit and attitude are crucial. The wrong choice of clothing or questionable behavior can hinder an employee’s career prospects.  In such a competitive environment, people have to really hone their social skills.   A social gathering that includes the entire office is a great opportunity to make a positive impression and get some face time in an informal environment.  Please let us know if you have any tips to add to our list:

Top Tips to Navigating the Office Party

  1. Do RSVP and do go. The hostess and/or organizer will appreciate knowing that you will be there as soon as you know.  Your name will be on the list and you will get all the benefits associated with that.
  2. Don’t dress inappropriately. If you wouldn’t wear it to the office, you shouldn’t wear it to the office party. Of course, your clothes can be more festive than those you wear to work (think sequins, color, and sparkles), but they shouldn’t be revealing.
  3. Do arrive on time. This is a good chance to chat with senior executives in a relaxed atmosphere before it gets too hectic.
  4. Don’t drink too much. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and alters your judgment.  Even if you think you can handle your alcohol quite well, remember, perception is everything. You don’t want to look like you’re drinking too much, even if the alcohol has little effect on you.
  5. Do keep conversations positive and upbeat. Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging, correcting, whining, or ridiculing. And do avoid controversial subjects (such as religion, politics, etc.) and off-color jokes.
  6. Don’t talk about people behind their backs. Just because someone is absent from the office party doesn’t give you reason to talk about them. In addition to the fact that it’s just not nice, it is a bad reflection on you.  Everybody knows if they will talk about her they will talk about you.
  7. Do enjoy yourself. Employers spend so the big office parties are meant to be a reward for their employees, to meet significant others, and an opportunity to mingle with clients.

Have a good time and Happy Holidays.  Let us know if you need to brush up on your networking or dining skills.  We are here for you.

Cheryl Walker-Robertson is Chief Protocol Office of Protocol International. Protocol International is a service company that specializes in training and image enhancement through workshops, seminars and one-on-one coaching. Visit www.4protocol.net to learn more.

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