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Company Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts

The holiday season is here again – and so is the email invitation to the official office holiday party.

Via Flickr user karlfrankowsk

While this annual event can be a fun way to socialize with colleagues and maybe blow off a little steam, remember that it’s still your company holiday party – and not a football game tailgate with your college buds.

1. Don’t forget it’s a work function

The holiday party is bound to be more casual than a board meeting or conference call, but it’s still a work event. Act that way.

2. Don’t drink too much alcohol

You’re sure to see your bosses and subordinates with glasses of wine in hand, but don’t take that as your cue to throw back a few. Arrive sober, only drink what you can handle, and leave before you’re woozy. You don’t want alcohol-induced inhibition to suddenly inspire you to do or say something you’ll regret later.

3. Don’t do something gossipy office-mates could misconstrue later

You don’t want to find yourself cozying up all evening with your adorable, 22-year-old assistant. Just as suspicious: cornering the corporate owner to promote all the successful initiatives you’ve been working on. The attendees will vividly recall what went down – and they’ll talk about it later.

4. Dress appropriately

You may read the words ‘holiday party’ and envision an opportunity to get some use out of a sparkly top or Santa suit, but you’re going to be mingling with your manager and subordinates. Don’t let what you intend to be festive attire convey something illicit or unbusinesslike about you.

5. Prepare talking points

You’ll be rubbing shoulders with people you want to impress. You don’t want to find yourself at an inexplicable loss for words when you’re conversing with a coworker, especially one who is more senior than you are and doesn’t know you that well. Some solid subjects to mine: how you’re spending the holidays, upcoming vacations or something cultural you’re looking forward to like a current movies or museum exhibit.

6. Avoid topics meant for closed doors

The holiday party is not the time to bring up the raise or promotion you thought you should have gotten, nor is it a chance to make a pitch to increase your bonus. If needed, save conversations like those for a one-on-one meeting with the appropriate manager.

7. Don’t eat too much

You don’t want it to look this holiday party is the first time you’ve been invited somewhere or like you’re starving for free food. Besides, you don’t want to wind up with broccoli stuck in your teeth, or tomato sauce on your white shirt.

8. Recognize the holiday party is a career opportunity

Have you been wanting to meet a senior executive or a peer in a different department because you have a similar career path or passion? Maybe you have a former colleague or hobby in common? The holiday party is the perfect chance to rub elbows with those people you wouldn’t ordinarily have a natural way to – and use it to your professional advantage.

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