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The Business Holiday Party Circuit - Party or Panic?

Believe it or not, the office holiday party season is right around the corner. I recently held our popular ‘Tis the Season to Mind Your Ps and Qs Holiday Etiquette Class at the Capitol Hill Club. For those of you who missed it, here is a short checklist to help you navigate every business holiday party with grace and confidence.

  • RSVP AND ATTEND THE EVENT. Yes, if it is your office party, you must attend. RSVP to all events. When you commit to attend, don’t be a no-show. Be on time.

  • APPEARANCES COUNT. Dress for the occasion – a bit festive is fine – and remember it is a work party. Have good posture and an open body stance. Put on your best accessory – a smile. You were invited - you belong!

  • TREAT YOUR GUEST WELL. If you bring a guest to the party, don’t abandon them. Not only is that not particularly nice but people will notice and it will reflect poorly on you.

  • TALK TO THE VIPs. Take the opportunity to talk to the VIPs in the room – the folks you would not typically talk with at other times. Just remember to have something interesting to say and don’t monopolize their time.

  • GET OUT AND MINGLE. Don’t spend the entire time with only the people you know. This is a great opportunity to meet new people in your organization, network and increase your professional circle for the coming year.

  • DON’T TALK TOO MUCH SHOP. Stand out from the crowd by conversing about something more fun and interesting than work – a book you just read, a play you just saw, a trip you just took. But don’t forget to ask questions of others – don’t be a conversation hog and no interrupting.

  • PREPARE TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT BEFORE THE PARTY. Scan the headlines and papers for some interesting topics to discuss should there be a lull in the conversation.

  • DON’T OVERINDULGE. While you certainly need to look like you are enjoying yourself, don’t be the one everyone talks about after the party. Know your alcohol limits. Don’t immediately make a beeline to the buffet. When you do go to the buffet, don’t pile your plate high with shrimp cocktail. It is fine to make more than one trip to the buffet, just don’t overfill your plate. Don’t stalk the servers passing food in the room. And don’t double-dip.

  • BE GRATEFUL. Verbally thank the host of the event. A follow-up handwritten thank you note will set you apart from your colleagues. And if the party is not your cup of tea, don’t use any form of social media to complain about it – or anyone who was at the party. It shows bad judgment. And you will look like The Grinch!

Follow these tips and you will ring in the New Year with career confidence – and your job intact.

Have a marvelous Thanksgiving holiday - Catherine

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