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Navigating the Corporate Holiday Party Without Risking Your Career

Posted by: on December 9, 2016 in employee relations


The holiday season not only brings tiding of comfort and joy, but also an invitation to your company’s holiday party. Although holiday festivities may be a cause for celebration, it is important to note that the impression you make while there could easily affect your career long after the event has ended.

Worried about how you are going to balance professionalism and fun at the upcoming party? We’ve put together some tips to ensure this year’s holiday cheer doesn’t affect your professional career.

Dress for the Occasion:
Attire is quite possibly most detrimental mistake any business professional can make before even arriving. Just because the holidays call for festive attire does not mean it is an open invitation to strut your stuff and wear a revealing or tight fitting outfit. Your ensemble should be festive, considerate of the event’s theme and location, yet still appropriate to meet an office dress code.

Your attire significantly influences how your coworkers perceive your character. Don’t let one night’s questionable outfit tarnish your entire professional image. When considering outfit options it is better to lean on the conservative side and be dressed up rather than down. If you are new to the company, ask a trusted coworker what employees wore last year. Finally, before heading out be sure to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Should I wear this in front of my boss?”

Engage in Conversation:
A company holiday party is the perfect opportunity to get to know your colleagues and superiors outside of a corporate setting. Use this chance to branch out of your typical circle and make an effort to talk to as many people as possible, especially if you work in a large organization with department silos. It might be helpful to keep a mental note of individuals you want to meet before arriving.

When mingling with colleagues try to keep the conversation light and positive, being sure to steer clear of business-related matters. The last thing anyone would want is to talk about work at a party. Networking and increasing professional visibility at corporate events can go great lengthens in influencing your future professional advancements. Take advantage of the holiday festivities and don’t let a great opportunity to make a good impression go to waste.

Open Bar Does Not Mean a Drink “Free for All”:
Although this may seem like a great time to drink away some nerves and let loose, it is key to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. Your company holiday party is no place to go shot for shot with your cubicle mate, nor is it the occasion to show everyone how great you are at a keg-stand. Always keep in mind that this is still a corporate event and to conduct yourself accordingly. The last thing you would want is to be the highlight of Monday gossip and run the risk of plundering your professional reputation because you had a little too much to drink.

Know When it’s Time To Leave:
While company holiday parties are a great break from the usual office formalities, it is important to not forget social etiquette. Before calling it a night, do not forget to thank the host and say a quick goodbye to those still at the event, especially if they sat at your table or you spoke with them during the evening. Small acts of acknowledgement let others know you appreciate their time while reaffirming a good impression. While you may not want to be the first to leave, you are not required to stay until the end of the party. If you are feeling tired or have other plans, you can politely excuse yourself and leave.

During this holiday season if you are to be extended an invitation to your company’s upcoming festivities, do not shy away from attending. Corporate holiday festivities are a great way to unwind while building a positive professional reputation. Remembering these tips can help you successfully navigate through your next corporate gathering and ensure a great time.



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