Here’s how to have festive office party fun without becoming water cooler chatter.
If nothing else…
The cardinal rule is to remember that no matter how festive the occasion, it’s still about business. While it’s called a party, it’s one in name only. Technically, it’s a time for you to show the office what your best self is like when you’re out of the office.
Eat, drink and be merry — in moderation. The next day you want people to remember you for how charming you were, not how much you ate or drank. If you choose to drink, do so minimally. Many sources say keeping yourself to two drinks is a good guideline to follow. Also, enjoy the food at the party, but avoid looking like a glutton.
Dress appropriately for the occasion. Business attire is still expected, but you can add some flair and sparkle. Just don’t go overboard.
Introduce yourself. Don’t spend the entire evening with your regular office buddies — get in the holiday spirit and mingle with people from other departments. This is a great opportunity to become visible to your organization’s higher-ups.
Limit the shoptalk and complaints. While office parties are work related, no one wants to be discussing business. Nobody wants to discuss those upcoming project goals or the latest management changes. In addition to watching excess shoptalk, you need to keep gossip in check.
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.
What your date or spouse wears and how that person acts is just as important as what you wear and how you act. No one will judge you negatively if your beloved doesn’t look like a supermodel, but they will judge you if that person is dressed inappropriately, can’t keep up with the conversation, cusses, gets tipsy or worse.
Be sure to thank those who coordinated the party. Expressing your gratitude about the party is a professional and polite way to acknowledge the time and money they put into the party.
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