There have been films made about it, everyone has a story about an incident at an office party, so how do you handle these events in a way that will not cause you heartache, embarrassment, or make you wish you just didn’t go.
One thing to remember, is the word ‘office’. The people who will be there are those that you have to work with the next day or week, so some consideration to the boundaries of what is normally acceptable is necessary. The basis of good manners is thoughtfulness and consideration for others.
Is it a dress to impress event? If it is, consider how you will portray your personality and position in the company. Take note of the venue, the time of the event, and the style of the invitation. That should give you a clue as to whether it needs glamour and formality, or if it is more casual. For women, a jacket can always cover up a dress that is a little too revealing if you make a mistake in judgement. For guys, if in doubt, take the tie and be on the ready. If going straight from work, some simple freshening up is mandatory. For girls, enhancing makeup, changing accessories, some fragrance, changing hairstyle are all simple things that require little effort. For the guys, a quick shave to remove shadow, cologne, a clean shirt (casual or formal depending on the situation) and change of jacket can make all the difference.
The office party is not about letting go. Think about your position, after all its your reputation that is at stake the following day so drink in moderation, and stay alert. Over the top behaviour can be very tacky.
Take the opportunity to chat with co-workers and managers you may not normally have access to. You might be surprised at what opportunities you discover in your own working environment.
Executive and Career Coach, Caroline Cameron from Possibility to Reality, says the office Christmas Party is a great event to create a positive impression. “Colleagues and managers from other areas tend to be more relaxed and open at the office Christmas Party. Networking is all about letting people know how you can help them achieve their goals. Listen intently and find ways to link your skills and experience to what they need, in a relaxed way that demonstrates your integrity. Remember to follow up potential opportunities personally, when everyone’s back on deck in January.”
Respect your co-workers.
No matter what you feel, an office party is not a situation to talk about things that are better left unsaid. Avoid gossip, talking about medical problems, money matters, getting involved with ‘in-house’ shoptalk, or telling jokes of an inappropriate nature.
Above all, enjoy yourself and don’t look bored. Make sure you have thanked the people who organised the event before you leave, and leave on a positive note, after speeches and presentations have been made.