It’s that time again: Time for the holiday office party. It’s an event that can either help or hurt your image, as well as your career. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to make a positive impression on the executives in your company whom you may not have met yet; and to reinforce your co-workers positive impression of you.
Think about the impression you want to make: How you look, how you carry yourself, how you present yourself to others, and how you treat them will form the impression you make. Follow these tips and you will be sure to make a positive impression:
1. Prepare for the event. Go with a 15-second self-introduction prepared for the event, and something to say besides what is going on at the office. Keep your conversation topics light and positive. (Avoid talking shop; it is boring to do so at a festive event.)
2. Arrive on time. Strolling in when the party is half over shows disrespect for the party as well as for those attending it.
3. Dress appropriately. For events with business associates, it is always better to play it safe and wear a conservative outfit that is not too revealing. No plunging necklines, short skirts, or clingy fabrics. Do, however, make an effort, since this may be your first opportunity to make a positive first impression with upper management.
4. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. Have a glass of wine, but keep in mind this is not the time to overindulge in alcoholic beverages. (It is not the time to let your hair down!)
5. Carry your beverage in your left hand. This leaves your right hand free for handshakes and ensures your hand isn’t damp and cold.
6. Mingle. Knowing how to mingle and make small talk is an important executive skill. Do greet the colleagues with whom you work every day, but make an effort to talk to those you don’t know very well or would like to know better. (Depending upon the company and how formal it is, it may not be appropriate for junior staff members to approach the company’s most senior staff members to initiate conversations.)
7. Be discreet and don’t complain. If you are at a social business function, don’t discuss confidential matters; and complaining about colleagues or the office is seldom wise.
8. Respect the privacy of your colleagues. Don’t take pictures of your colleagues without first asking their permission; and certainly don’t post pictures of them on Facebook or other social media without asking their permission.
9. Put your smart phone away during the party. Your attention should go toward those attending the event. If you must have your phone on, put it on vibrate, and leave the room if you need to take a call.
10. Remember to give your thanks. Before leaving the party, say thank-you to the host and the organizers of the event. Consider writing a thank-you note to the host the day after the party. It will make you stand out from your colleagues.
By: Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick Updated December 2016