Etiquette Tips for the Office Holiday Party

Holiday parties at the office can be great fun and a nice way to celebrate the year with your co-workers, but they can also be a career minefield if not handled well. Remember – you’re still “on” and being observed by others. Look at these events as opportunities to put your best food forward and make positive impressions on those who control your career. Here are 6 tips to help you shine at your company’s holiday party:

1. Dress Appropriately
Nothing shocking or out of the ordinary, please. It’s important to be seen at these events, but don’t let it all hang out! Stay true to your company’s dress code and simply add a little more polish or sparkle. Easy fixes: upgrade your shirt or tie, or add a sparkly belt, jewelry, bag, or shoe.

2. Work the Room
Avoid clumping with your best buds and use the event to introduce yourself to some new folks, have a more meaningful conversation with those you know a little, and get some valuable face time with the upper ranks. You’ll come away with new or stronger relationships that could benefit you later.

3. Keep Small Talk Light and Positive
Stick to the “A & E” topics: books, movies, theater, museums, travel, restaurants, etc.  It’s never a good idea to discuss politics, religion, your love life, or recent medical procedures at a social event.  Ask people if they’ll be traveling for the holidays or what they’ll be asking Santa for this year.  That should start the ball rolling.

4. Drink Lightly
One or two glasses of beer, wine, or spiked punch will get you through the evening.  And there’s nothing wrong with sodas or sparkling water.  Don’t overindulge and become tomorrow’s Hot Topic at the office.  Many careers have been ruined because of excessive drinking and the uninhibited behavior that usually follows.

5. Maintain Boundaries
If you’re not on a first name basis between 9 & 5, you’re not after 5:00.  Maintain the usual bubbles of personal space and show the same deference to superiors you do during the day.  In other words, don’t walk around the party holding mistletoe over your head.  That’s a lawsuit in-the-making.

6. Watch What You Post
Don’t ruin the positive impression you make tonight with a questionable status update, Tweet, or tagged photo of you tomorrow morning.  Any online post you make about the party should be done with a clear and sober head.  Ask your friends to do the same.

Copyright 2010 Jill Bremer