It’s holiday party time again. Every year, I l attend a few office parties and every year there is a new rising start that finds a way to break every rule in the office holiday party rulebook. I’m in Marketing and every Decemeber for the last six years, I had the pleasure of attending at least five office holiday parties per year on average. And to put the cherry on top - I usually throw my own holiday party at the condo. Talk about an exciting event. After years of attending many holiday office parties I think I’ve seen it all – at least, until the next year rolls around. And I highly doubt this year will be any different.
On the agenda for me are seven holiday parties this December – starting this weekend. Fortunately though, none of them overlap each other, but instead fall on consecutive nights. I guess office holiday party gods were looking down on me. So, without further adieu, here are a few wise words from a seasoned holiday office party pro:
Rule # 1: This is a Business Event
Treat your holiday office party as a business event. Pretend you are at a conference and you don’t know very many people and it’s happy hour, so you are mingling, while being selective in what you say and how much booze you consume. In other words, be responsible. Holiday office parties are events when the rising stars are introduced and star employees are awarded for their hard work. More than likely your managers are sitting together at one table and keeping a low-pro on the conversation. That conversation is likely about you, just make sure it’s positive, rather than negative.
Rule # 2: Dress to Impress
Bring out your fashionista and dress to impress. Remember, this is an even outside of the office. You think you’re judged in the office on your attire, you can bet that everyone will be watching what you’ll be wearing. Just don’t over do it – and I am referring to the ladies here, more than men. Too much perfume, jewelery or even that short sleazy dress is not a turn on. Think, ummmm…classy! Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for. There is nothing wrong with dressing to impress. Just keep in mind, that your holiday office party attire will leave a greater impression than when you interviewed for the job.
Rule # 3: Careful Booze Consumption
If you’re planning to drink – plan ahead of time. Get a hotel room close by or take a taxi home, if you plan to consume your fair share of alcohol. Let’s be real – it’s holiday season and there are police checkpoints everywhere. Getting a DIU is not worth the $50 cab ride or $100/night hotel room.
Also keep in mind how much alcohol you consume. Sure, it’s fun to have a few drinks and let loose, but if you want to avoid being talked about on Monday, simply watch what you drink, what you say and to whom you say it to. Remember, be classy not trashy.
Rule # 4: Choose Your Date Wisely
If you’re single and bringing a date, you will be judged on who you invited. Sure, that girl you sleep with every now and then is great to shoot the shit with, but can she hold her own conversation? You want to enjoy your self and not be a babysitter all night. So, how do you make this work? Simply, prep your date. Tell him/her what your goals are with the company and how you want to be perceived. There is nothing more flattering , yet powerful than a third party (your date) singing your praises. Actually I lied. There is something more powerful – your bosses date singing your praises to your boss.
Good dates are there for more than the free dinner and booze. A good date gathers information and acts as an informant to you. You’re bound to be in different places throughout the night, hence why I suggested bringing a date that can hold their own end of the conversation.
Rule # 5: Don’t be a Party Pooper
Don’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Get enough rest prior to your holiday office party. Like most office holiday parties, there are two parts – office holiday party and the after-party. Make sure you can handle both. That’s why it’s super important you watch your drinks, because you don’t want to burn out too quickly.
Rule # 6: Selective Conversation
Bashing co-workers at the holiday party is not the way to go. Remember, you’re there to have fun and enjoy your self. Leave the cooler-talk for Monday morning. Instead, be super friendly, outgoing and never forget to introduce your self to your co-workers date. Just be Mr. or Ms. Mingle. The more you mingle, the better you are off. And please, avoid sticking to your regular office crew. Get out of your comfort zone and be friendly with other co-workers outside of your crew.
Rule # 7: Refer back to Rules 1-6
Hey, don’t say I never did anything for you. I just gave you the straight goods from Mr. Holiday Party himself. I live by these rules during holiday party season. Remember, most attendees don’t follow these rules, so you will easily standout when you do. Stay classy my friends.