Holiday Office Parties Dos and Don’ts

By Paula Santonocito

For more insight into these kinds of signals, read “Single Women and Body Language at Work.”

Resist the urge to gossip. In social situations, the conversation often veers away from work.

One of the topics people tend to talk about is other people. Some conversations are innocent enough, as in, “I met Jane’s sister at the gym. What a lovely person she is.”

Other conversations, however, clearly are not going down a good path. If a person says, “I met Jane’s sister at the gym. She’s not nearly as attractive as people say she is,” it’s time to change the subject or move on to a conversation with another person.

Mind your manners. It sounds basic, but it can be easy to forget some of the simple things, especially if you’re a little nervous.

When your manager’s boss comes up to you and asks if you’re enjoying the party, you don’t want to talk with food in your mouth.

Similarly, you don’t want to wolf down your meal, even if you are famished.

You also want to be polite and gracious to your host. Sure, it’s a work-related event, but you should still thank the person responsible for the party and wish him or her a happy holiday season.

If you sincerely (key word) had a great time and the event was spectacular, you might want to seek out the party planner(s) as well and let them know you enjoyed yourself.

Remember your position. This last point often gets overlooked and, as a result, can be a source of confusion.

In a social situation, people generally become more relaxed. But this doesn’t mean the corporate hierarchy has vanished.

Joe CEO is still the CEO; he’s not suddenly your buddy Joe. Similarly, people who report to your direct reports aren’t members of your new hang-out-and-party gang.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly to one and all. You can and should socialize. Here again, though, don’t lose sight of the big picture.

After the holiday party is over and you return to work, Joe CEO won’t be hanging out in your cubicle. Likewise, you don’t want to give workers who report to your staff members the impression that you are their new best friend.

Party hearty. Once you know how to turn your party animal into a cool cat, you can enjoy the festivities of the season and maintain—perhaps even enhance—your professional standing at work.


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