Handling Holiday Office Parties

Reviewed Oct 6, 2017

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Summary

  • If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you know your limits, and stick to them.
  • Handle your special dietary needs by making sure there will be appropriate food there, or eat before you go.

Do you need a strategy for handling your workplace holiday party? Yes! Every company party—no matter when or where it’s held, how casual or formal it seems—is still a business meeting. What you do and how you do it will be seen as directly related to your capabilities, like it or not.

So go—and have fun! Keep these pointers in mind.

  • Know what’s expected. Gifts? What to wear? When to arrive or leave?
  • If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you know your limits, and stick to them.
  • Handle your special dietary needs by making sure there will be appropriate food there, or eat before you go. Don’t make snide comments about what you can’t eat.
  • Work the room. Don’t huddle with the people you know. You’ve got a great opportunity to get to know—and make an impression on—others in the company. Talk with people in different departments and at different staff levels.
  • Keep conversation light. Try not to talk shop all the time. Move away from people who want to gripe.
  • Do you struggle with making small talk? Think of the party as a large, informal “focus group.” Gather input on projects/activities—personal or professional—by circulating among small groups, asking 1 or 2 key questions that will help flesh out your ideas. Tell people what you’re doing...they’ll get into it!
  • Remember, these people are your co-workers, not your best friends or potential mates (usually!). Be careful not to get too personal—or too close—in what you say or do.
  • Set aside internal politics. Now is not the time to trot out your scorecard of rights and wrongs done by other departments or people.
  • Know who will be there—spouses, outside vendors or consultants, staff from other company sites. Figure out who you want to get next to—or away from—beforehand. Stay away from people you don’t get along with.
  • Say thanks—to the owner, the boss, the sponsor, the host, the party planners, your secret Santa. Send a formal note (maybe an email) if appropriate.

In spite of your best efforts, you may do something you regret. What’s the best way to handle those “morning after” blues?

  • Apologize immediately—and profusely.
  • Talk with the person about what happened—and why.
  • Make your work performance outstanding so people focus on your strengths, not your party gaffe.
By Rebecca Thomas

Summary

  • If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you know your limits, and stick to them.
  • Handle your special dietary needs by making sure there will be appropriate food there, or eat before you go.

Do you need a strategy for handling your workplace holiday party? Yes! Every company party—no matter when or where it’s held, how casual or formal it seems—is still a business meeting. What you do and how you do it will be seen as directly related to your capabilities, like it or not.

So go—and have fun! Keep these pointers in mind.

  • Know what’s expected. Gifts? What to wear? When to arrive or leave?
  • If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you know your limits, and stick to them.
  • Handle your special dietary needs by making sure there will be appropriate food there, or eat before you go. Don’t make snide comments about what you can’t eat.
  • Work the room. Don’t huddle with the people you know. You’ve got a great opportunity to get to know—and make an impression on—others in the company. Talk with people in different departments and at different staff levels.
  • Keep conversation light. Try not to talk shop all the time. Move away from people who want to gripe.
  • Do you struggle with making small talk? Think of the party as a large, informal “focus group.” Gather input on projects/activities—personal or professional—by circulating among small groups, asking 1 or 2 key questions that will help flesh out your ideas. Tell people what you’re doing...they’ll get into it!
  • Remember, these people are your co-workers, not your best friends or potential mates (usually!). Be careful not to get too personal—or too close—in what you say or do.
  • Set aside internal politics. Now is not the time to trot out your scorecard of rights and wrongs done by other departments or people.
  • Know who will be there—spouses, outside vendors or consultants, staff from other company sites. Figure out who you want to get next to—or away from—beforehand. Stay away from people you don’t get along with.
  • Say thanks—to the owner, the boss, the sponsor, the host, the party planners, your secret Santa. Send a formal note (maybe an email) if appropriate.

In spite of your best efforts, you may do something you regret. What’s the best way to handle those “morning after” blues?

  • Apologize immediately—and profusely.
  • Talk with the person about what happened—and why.
  • Make your work performance outstanding so people focus on your strengths, not your party gaffe.
By Rebecca Thomas

Summary

  • If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you know your limits, and stick to them.
  • Handle your special dietary needs by making sure there will be appropriate food there, or eat before you go.

Do you need a strategy for handling your workplace holiday party? Yes! Every company party—no matter when or where it’s held, how casual or formal it seems—is still a business meeting. What you do and how you do it will be seen as directly related to your capabilities, like it or not.

So go—and have fun! Keep these pointers in mind.

  • Know what’s expected. Gifts? What to wear? When to arrive or leave?
  • If you are going to drink alcohol, be sure you know your limits, and stick to them.
  • Handle your special dietary needs by making sure there will be appropriate food there, or eat before you go. Don’t make snide comments about what you can’t eat.
  • Work the room. Don’t huddle with the people you know. You’ve got a great opportunity to get to know—and make an impression on—others in the company. Talk with people in different departments and at different staff levels.
  • Keep conversation light. Try not to talk shop all the time. Move away from people who want to gripe.
  • Do you struggle with making small talk? Think of the party as a large, informal “focus group.” Gather input on projects/activities—personal or professional—by circulating among small groups, asking 1 or 2 key questions that will help flesh out your ideas. Tell people what you’re doing...they’ll get into it!
  • Remember, these people are your co-workers, not your best friends or potential mates (usually!). Be careful not to get too personal—or too close—in what you say or do.
  • Set aside internal politics. Now is not the time to trot out your scorecard of rights and wrongs done by other departments or people.
  • Know who will be there—spouses, outside vendors or consultants, staff from other company sites. Figure out who you want to get next to—or away from—beforehand. Stay away from people you don’t get along with.
  • Say thanks—to the owner, the boss, the sponsor, the host, the party planners, your secret Santa. Send a formal note (maybe an email) if appropriate.

In spite of your best efforts, you may do something you regret. What’s the best way to handle those “morning after” blues?

  • Apologize immediately—and profusely.
  • Talk with the person about what happened—and why.
  • Make your work performance outstanding so people focus on your strengths, not your party gaffe.
By Rebecca Thomas

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