BERMAN LARSON KANE
NAVIGATING THE OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY
For workers, holiday parties can be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a successful year gone by, catch up with colleagues and hobnob with senior executives to try to get ahead. But, according to an article from The Wall Street Journal, there’s also a host of challenges that can confront employees – especially younger ones – from figuring out whom to bring to walking the fine line between being friendly and being flirty.
Here from the article are some do’s and don’t when it comes to these events:
Dress Appropriately: If you’re new to the company, talk to co-workers who have attended previous office functions to get a sense of what you should wear. “Dress conservatively, not like you are going to a club in Vegas,” advised Tom Gimbel, CEO of staffing firm LaSalle Network in Chicago. But he added, don’t take it “to the point where [you’re] wearing a suit where everybody is wearing jeans.
For women, “don’t wear anything low-cut, too short, too tight, too revealing,” said Jacqueline Whitmore, a business-etiquette expert in Palm Beach, Fla. She advises men to wear a nice pair of slacks and a sports jacket.
Keep the Conversation Light: Steer clear of talking about layoffs or pay freezes that have hurt morale, experts advised. “Try to keep the conversation upbeat,” said Barbara Pachter, president of Pachter & Associates, a business-etiquette and communications firm in Cherry Hill, N.J. If your company is merging or you’re adding new product lines, for example, these could be good subjects to talk about, she added.
Don’t Be a Gossip: While it’s fun to indulge in rumors about colleagues, you don’t want to be known as the person who’s always spreading juicy gossip. “You want to be known for your work ethic, you want to be known for your product you put out,” Gimbal told the newspaper. Instead he encourages people to stick to safe topics like sports, entertainment and what’s going on in the world.”
Network With Higher-Ups: Even if you’re intimidated by the group of VPs huddling in their own circle, don’t pass up the opportunity to meet these people who could be interviewing you when you’re up for your next promotion. Look for an opening to chime in on a topic that you know about.
If they don’t already know you, introduce yourself and say how long you’ve been with the company and what you do. Afterward, if you feel like you connected with someone senior, send them a follow-up e-mail saying it was nice to meet them, said Pachter. “What have you got to lose?”
Monitor Your Alcohol Use: Holiday parties are one of the few workplace events where imbibing is allowed and even encouraged to get people relaxed. However, just because alcohol is free-flowing at the bar doesn’t mean you should take that as a license to reprise your college frat parties, the article noted.
Most people head toward the bar and the buffet when they get to the a holiday party, and if they drink on an empty stomach they tend to get inebriated and then they could say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing,” Whitmore told the newspaper. “No 1 rule is; Don’t drink too much, monitor your alcohol intake. Usually, one or two drinks is plenty.”
Bring Your Significant Other: You should first check to make sure you’re even allowed to bring someone. If you are dating someone, invite that person only if you’ve been together awhile. You should also give your guest the lowdown on what your boss and co-workers are like.
“That person in many ways represents you, and also your judgment,” added Pachter. “So if you bring someone who gets rip-roaring drunk, and starts seducing other people, what does that say about you?”
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