The Christmas office party or any corporate event is not the time to let your “hair” down. The reason businesses host get-togethers is to show appreciation to employees for their hard work throughout the year. These parties are a great way to solidify team building or network with other employees that you may never have occasion to see or work with regularly. Remember, you are not “clubbing”. These gatherings are still business oriented so you must treat them as such.
- RSVP – let the social committee organizer or boss know in plenty of time that you plan to attend or not as the case may be. Keep in mind though that your presence is actually mandatory so if you can’t attend, the reason should be valid. Also, if it hasn’t been mentioned, ask if guests are welcome.
- Dress appropriately. For women, this means nothing too tight or revealing. Business casual for men is a good choice especially if it includes a blazer. This is still a business event and your professional image requires an outfit that is attractive yet low-key.
- Be on time especially if the evening includes a sit-down dinner. If the boss’ home is the venue, bring along a gift such as a bottle of wine or a CD of favorite music. Don’t overstay your welcome…leave when the party is winding down.
- Don’t overdo alcohol. Be moderate in your food intake. Be remembered at the party for all of the right reasons. Being intoxicated in front of your work colleagues may have negative repercussions for your future in the company. Upper management is also watching.
- Introduce yourself to managers and other employees who are not known well to you. Your drink stays in the left hand so the right hand is dry for handshakes. Don’t remain for the entire evening visiting with your team members, only. When striking up conversations, have appropriate topics that are pleasant and interesting. This isn’t the time to complain about the client, the work load or even your boss!!
- Follow-up after the party with a handwritten thank you card or email to the organizer or the host.
Upper management uses social occasions to determine who among their employees are best adapted at handling themselves well. Make your personal brand one in which you are known to be friendly, authentic and professional in dealing with your work colleagues on a regular basis.
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