The office Christmas party is usually known as the occasion to relax, drink, dance and voice your opinion on work issues that probably should be kept quiet. As a woman climbing the corporate ladder use the office Christmas party as a chance to connect and build relationships with senior managers and colleagues you generally don’t get a chance to work with on a daily basis.
5 Tips to remember:
1. Dress appropriately
Dress appropriately. When choosing an outfit consider dress code, theme, location and time of day. Don’t dress as if you are going to a nightclub. Stay clear of too tight fitting or too much cleavage. Make a smart choice with the footwear, heels may look hot, but if you’re on your feet all night consider having emergency flats. The absolute worst look is a corporate woman with no shoes on. Go for understated elegance and style.
Show off your communication skills by circulating and talking to everyone. Avoid gossip, rude jokes and complaining. Keep the conversation light and talk about hobbies, interests and holidays. The key to all networking is listen; be responsive and not too serious.
3. Mind your manners
Nothing undermines your professional image more than holding your knife and fork like a hillbilly or stuffing finger food down your mouth. Place your finger food on a napkin first instead of eating directly from tray to mouth, and don’t double dip! If the party is a sit down dinner you may need to brush up on dining etiquette.
4. DON’T overindulge
It’s a good idea to say hello to all senior managers early in the evening before you’ve had alcohol. Since it’s a social event it’s okay to have a glass of beer, wine or champagne at a party but set yourself a limit and stick to it. No matter how hard you try to make up for drunken foolishness later, bad behavior will haunt you for years. Also never let yourself be photographed holding a drink in your hand.
5. DON’T flirt
This is not the time to snuggle and whisper to your colleague you have the hots for. Avoid anything that looks like mistletoe or close affection. What may seem like harmless cuddles and kisses could become a sexual harassment complaint after the party has ended.
A office Christmas party is more business than party. It can be a minefield, but with a little thought and preplanning there is no reason why it should not be a fantastic fun event.
Published 22nd February 2013