The holiday season is a fun and festive time of year. Company parties and gatherings are great, but you should never forget where you are. It is important to remain professional as you will have to see and interact with these people at work. When your company is having a holiday celebration, you should make a point to attend, unless you are sick. Your professional reputation is important and how you interact with your co-workers at various events can greatly impact how you are seen.
#1 Dress for success is not for the work day only. You need to put considerable thought into your attire and remember that what is the most “in style” clothing choices might not be appropriate for your party. For example, a couple of years back I hosted a company holiday party at a five-star steakhouse. I had an individual arrive in the “trendy” jeans that everyone was wearing at the time with cuts and holes in them. This was not only inappropriate for the company holiday party but is generally inappropriate for a business event in general. This individual almost didn’t make it into restaurant, as they were in violation of the dress code to even eat there. It is important if your company is having it at a venue that you check the dress attire so that you are prepared.
#2 Alcohol consumption: If you enjoy drinking alcohol it is important to keep this in check. You do not want to consume too much, and it change your co-workers’ thoughts about you. Also, if co-workers plan to go to additional spots after the party you should still be careful how much alcohol you consume. Just as at any networking function or get together it is important to not become inebriated and make a spectacle of yourself. Be sure you keep your jolly in check!
#3 The Food: It is important you enjoy the food but do not make a glutton of yourself at the event. You need to be sure if you are self-serving that you do not use your fingers and use the utensils. If the meal is seated be sure you are using the correct utensils. Additionally, it is important to observe basic food etiquette like not chewing with your mouth open or talking with food in your mouth. If one of your parents would have reprimanded you for it, then don’t do it at the company Holiday party. Also, under no circumstances is it acceptable to ask for a doggy bag.
#4 Conversations: Speak to everyone at the party in a positive and friendly tone. This is not the place to say something negative that may get you into trouble later. If you find this difficult, make the rounds, greet everyone, and find an excuse to leave early. You should never say anything you wouldn’t say at the office. This is a good time to speak to executives and supervisors you may not otherwise have a chance to talk to. Approach them with a smile, introduce yourself if they don’t already know your name, and keep the conversation short. You want to be friendly, but you don’t want to keep them from talking to others. This is not the time to complain about your job, your coworkers, or the company. This is a celebratory event and it should be treated as such. Mingle with people outside your department. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know someone you only communicate with via email, so they can make a connection with you. Always be a good listener. No one likes partying with someone who hogs the conversation.
#5 Guest: Before bringing a guest to the company party be sure it is okay with the individual that is planning the event or check the invite in regard to guests. Also, it is important to follow the RSVP instructions, so they are anticipating you and your guest if one is allowed.
#6 Gifts for other attendees: Some parties involve a gift exchange. Stay in the price range recommended. Avoid purchasing anything risqué or personal. It is important to remember that this is an office exchange and not your buddies, so it needs to be appropriate.
#7 Hostess or Party Planner Gift: You may or may not choose to bring a host or hostess gift, but if in doubt, it is always good form to bring something. If you know the host or hostess well, you can be creative and bring something you know he or she will enjoy. However, if you aren’t sure what to bring, you can’t go wrong with flowers, a bottle of wine or perhaps a candle. I like to bring something especially if it is hosted at one of the team members home. I think it is a nice gesture for them since they are opening their
#9 When to arrive: It is important to not be the very first person to arrive unless you are part of the planning group. It is okay to arrive about 15 minutes later. Also, if it is a seated meal it is important to be there on time since the meal is being served in a specific order. Additionally, it is important to know the schedule for the event, is it just a casual meal, or are there speakers and awards. You do not want to be the person that shows up during the middle of your Boss’s Holiday speech.
#10 When to leave: It is important that you are not the last person there unless you are supposed to be part of the planning committee and you are designated to remain behind. If you are still wanting to enjoy the evening it is best to go to another location for after dinner drinks and festivities. Parties require quite a bit of planning and effort, and the organizer will appreciate your kind gesture. If the host is a supervisor, you’ll stand out as someone who is gracious and has good manners.