It’s the season! You are likely receiving more holiday party invitations than your inbox can handle, and somewhere amongst them all is the annual holiday office party invite. These parties are typically meant to celebrate the season and a year’s worth of hard work, but they can be daunting. There is a lot of networking potential at these parties, but if you’re shy, that might give you some anxiety. So, how do you navigate through your office party and make an impression? Here is some key do’s and don’ts.
Regardless of how long you’ve been with the company, if you receive an invite to the office holiday party, it’s strongly recommended that you attend. If you haven’t gotten the chance to know the co-workers that you pass by in the hallways, these parties provide excellent networking opportunities. You can build stable relationships with your colleagues, and even introduce yourself to members of a team you’re looking to move to in the future.
Don’t: Ignore the Party Dress Code
Make sure that you understand the event and the dress code that is stated on the invitation. Showing up in a see-through blouse might give off the wrong impression. It’s also a good idea to avoid fancy attire such as a tux, unless your invitation clearly states that the dress code is black tie. Take the time to think about what you’re going to wear. There’s a high chance that you won’t feel comfortable at the event if you stick out like a swollen thumb. Remember that it’s a business event, and if all else fails, men can’t go wrong with a standard suit and a black dress works for women.
Do: Converse with Everyone—Including Those You Don’t Know
Company holiday parties are full of lots of people, and not all of them are employees. Even if you don’t think you’re going to see the people again, it’s vital that you treat everyone attending with respect. Leaving people out of a conversation might give off a negative impression, and cause someone else to feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. It’s especially important to take the time to get to know everyone if you are the boss.
Don’t: Get Distracted by Technology
Your holiday party is only going to last a few hours, so for the respect of everyone, refrain from using your smartphone or any tablets that you have with you. You might miss out on opportunities to get to know your co-workers, or give off the impression that you aren’t looking to get to know them, or you are bored. Sitting on your phone during a party is rude and inconsiderate.
Do: Stick to a Drink Maximum
Most holiday parties offer free cocktails, beer, and wine. Unless you set a limit for yourself, there’s a good chance that you might pay for it later. People have excellent memories when it comes to certain things. It might be easy for someone to forget where they left their keys, but if you drink too much and do something crazy, it’s going to be remembered. It’s recommended that you stick to a two-drink maximum, and just sip casually.
It’s always a great idea to bring the host of the party a token of appreciation. As an example, if the party is at your boss’ house, bringing them a box of chocolates, gift basket, gift card, or a bottle of wine are all acceptable gifts. Don’t bring gifts such as flowers, as it creates more work for the host.
Office holiday parties provide you with a wonderful chance to celebrate, network, impress and have a lot of fun. Following the above tips is going to help make sure that the topic of conversation after the new-year is how great the party was, and not about you.