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How to Survive Your Company’s Holiday Party From Start to Finish

Erin Taylor

Erin Taylor

December 13, 2018

‘Tis the season of office holiday parties and cheers to making it a memorable one and not an embarrassing one

 

Despite having the word “party” in the name, this is still a work event. However, we all know mixing booze, coworkers, and clients can be volatile. The night could go well or it could turn into a drunken disaster. You don’t want to be “that guy or that girl” who people remember because of poor choices. So, here are a few survival tips to avoid humiliating yourself and not becoming “that” guy.

1. Eat beforehand

Your party will more than likely have food available for guests and you’re obviously allowed to eat some. But, you should still eat at least some before the party begins for many reasons. The first being you don’t want to be that “guy” who lingers around the food table and is too busy to mingle because he constantly stuffing his face with mini-sandwiches. The second being, if you plan on drinking, you’re putting yourself in a situation to become more intoxicated than you intended.

 

2. Acknowledge the dress code

Whatever you choose, remember that this is still a business event and not a bros night out. You need to find out what the dress code is from your co-workers and dress appropriately. Not doing so can result in conversations behind your back about not getting the memo or you simply feeling uncomfortable. Showing up in an ugly Christmas sweater at a formal event won’t be considered funny or professional. In reality, it would be really creepy.

3. Show up

Whether you’ve been with the company for a while or you’re a newbie, a holiday party is a great way to build relationships with your co-workers and a great networking opportunity. To show that you’re committed to the company, make sure you show up for at least 30 minutes and introduce yourself. You don’t to that “guy” who never shows up at company events.

4. Know your drinking limits

You only get one first impression, so you need to prepare yourself ahead of time by setting guidelines, whether that’s one or two drinks max. While indulging in more than a few drinks helps combat any shyness or nervousness, it’s better to be introverted than to make a fool of yourself. Overall, you want to make a great impression so people will remember you.

5. Go beyond your usual circle

Company holiday parties are not just for employees, you’ll also be seeing new faces, including clients or your colleagues’ spouses and friends. It’s easy to spend the party around the same people you spend most of your work time with. But, this is a great opportunity to make new connections and build relationships. Arrive at the party with a goal to speak to at least three new people. Make sure to ask open-ended questions as you chat so the conversation flows well and keep good eye-contact.

6. Be mindful of social media

Remember that social media is open to the public and you’ll want to avoid posting photos of anyone who has had too much to drink. Even though they are dropping it low, it’s a huge no-no to post anything negative about your company or its holiday party. In general, it’s best to always stay positive and ask permission before posting photos on social media, especially if it’s someone else.

7. Avoid talking work

Since this is an office event, it’s obvious that some business-related conversations will come up, but this isn’t the time to ask about new openings or eligibilities. This is supposed to be a party, not a company meeting. You’ll end up annoying people who are there to just relax, which is also what you should be doing. It’s important to avoid any gossiping about your coworkers, politics, religion, and so on as well. Things can get awkward real quick. If you’re not sure what to talk about, try movies, Netflix series, weekend plans, pets, travel plans, and food.

8. Know when to leave

It might be a fun night, but don’t make a nickname for yourself as the party animal by being the last one to leave. Learn to read the room and take your cue from the majority. If you note the is party slowing down, this might be a good time to make your exit.

9. Say goodbye and thank you

If you don’t say your goodbyes, it will leave the wrong open-ended questions about why you snuck out. You also need to make a point of going up to the people who organized the party and thank them for doing a great job, whether you loved it or hated it. Expressing your gratitude about the party if a professional and polite way to acknowledge the time and money they put into the party.

10. Make it to work the next day

If you don’t make it to work, everyone will know why you didn’t show up…because you drank way too much. If you’re not there, everyone will sit around and talk about your bad behavior the night twice as much. You’re already in trouble, don’t let it escalate.