The holiday season is here. With a little planning and forethought,
employees can attend and enjoy office parties without embarrassing
themselves, their employers, or harming their chances for advancement.
Here are a dozen office party tips and tricks:
Plan to attend. Officially, attendance may be "optional" but
you can be sure that people notice who does and who does
The only thing worse than not attending an office holiday
party is telling people you will attend and then not showing
up. Unless you have a spectacular excuse [preferably backed
up with x-rays or other irrefutable evidence that you were
physically unable to attend] people are unlikely to believe
whatever excuse you come up with for missing the party.
Remember that there is no such thing as a "social" business
event. Treat the office holiday party as you would any
other company related function.
Make a conscious decision to limit your alcohol consumption
to at most two or three drinks --- depending on the length
of the party.
Do not drink on an empty stomach. Before arriving at
the party, make sure you eat something substantial.
Dress tastefully and conservatively. Do not be under-dressed.
Do not wear anything too flashy, or worse, too revealing.
Do not be the first person to arrive at the party, and
never be the last person to leave.
Circulate and mingle. Office parties are a chance to
see and to be seen, so do not huddle the entire time with
In a sense, the company President [r the senior executive
present] is the host of the party. Be sure to speak to
them - even if it is only briefly. Compliment them on the
arrangements, and/or thank them for arranging the party.
Do not monopolize your manager's time or that of any
other senior executive.
If there is a gift exchange, select your gift with care.
Buying personal items for a co-worker [such as clothing
or perfume] is risky. A good bet is a gift certificate
to the local mall, or to a local restaurant.
Do not ignore your co-workers guests or spouses. This
means do not talk shop. Ask these guests open-ended questions,
and be a good listener.
The biggest risk facing anyone attending an office holiday
party in which alcohol is being served is getting intoxicated
which can lead to a variety of problems...not o the least of
which involve sexual overtures to co-workers.. Do not allow
the informality of the occasion, or the camaraderie you may
feel for your co-workers, or the fact that the party is a celebration,
or the fact that you are nervous to tempt you to drink to excess.
One final thought: As with any other holiday function if you drink, do not
drive! If you plan to drink, book a room at the hotel at which the party is
Michael C. Dennis a business consultant with more than twenty
years of credit management experience. His most recent book
is: "Credit and Collection Handbook" available at www.aspenpublishers.com.
This article is published annually in the hope that it will
help save one or more careers, and possibly even save lives.