Most of us try to make the most of our office holiday party. There’s food, music, booze, and several opportunities to get up close and personal with co-workers, managers, and executives. But don’t be fooled by the holiday festivities; business rules still apply. In an interview with Monster.com, business etiquette expert Hilka Klinkenberg provided some great tips to avoid embarrassing yourself at the office holiday party.
- Eat, drink and be merry — in moderation. Where else but the office party can you find the CEO and the mailroom clerk bellied up to the bar together? But remember: Alcohol plus you and your boss can equal Monday morning’s “I can’t believe I said that.” If you choose to drink, do so minimally.
- Dress appropriately for the occasion. Klinkenberg says this rule especially applies to women who sometimes use company parties to strut their stuff. Leave anything short, tight or revealing in the closet. You’ve worked hard to create a professional image and revealing clothes can alter your coworkers’ and manager’s perception of you as a competent professional.
- Your company party may be the only time you see the president, CEO, or VPs in person. Introduce yourself. This is a great opportunity to become visible to your organization’s higher-ups. At the very least, don’t spend the entire evening with your regular office buddies — get in the holiday spirit and mingle with people from other departments.
- Find out who can come to the event. Spouses and significant others are not always on the guest list. Check beforehand to avoid a potentially uncomfortable evening.
- Pay attention to the time you arrive and when you leave. Even if you don’t really want to attend, avoid arriving 20 minutes before the end just to make an appearance. On the flip side, don’t party into the wee hours, either. Coworkers and managers will notice both errors in judgment.
- If you’ve been a star performer in your organization, you may be honored with a toast. Accept the honor gracefully, but don’t drink to yourself or clap when others are applauding you. Also, make a toast to the person who toasted you, thanking him for the recognition.