Today’s holiday office parties are not that different than those of your parents’, with one small exception…
In their heydays of afros, bell bottoms and disco balls dancing to Donna Summer or grooving to Stevie Wonder, if a colleague was a little tipsy and did something silly, at worst, there could be a Polaroid on the lunch room’s bulletin board. That was it.
Nowadays, click !, a single snapshot from a phone can go viral. Click! One’s reputation could be tainted or haunted. Even if Halloween is already well buried, it’s scary. Isn’t it?
Here are nine questions and answers to help you sparkle and shine at work, even the morning after your holiday office party.
1)PRESENT OR ABSENT?
Be present. Otherwise you could shine by your absence. The most important word in “holiday office party” is? Drum roll please. Office! This intracompany party is the perfect opportunity to make yourself known and recognize your peers.
2) SOLO OR DUO?
It depends on the invitation. If his, her name or plus one is not in the invitation, you go solo. If you go with your loved one, make sure this person is well informed about the personalities and their subtleties. And make sure to introduce them. Don’t leave them standing next to you while the other wonders; wife, daughter or…?
3) CHIT CHAT ABOUT WORK OR WHAT?
The art of conversation comes down to a ratio of 2: 1. Listen twice as much as you talk. Make others shine. “What do you have planned for the holidays?” You will see them smile and their eyes shine as you learn the names of their loved ones and their favorite traditions. Congratulate team members on their 2018 achievements. Introduce yourself to new recruits. Thank subordinates and those who make going to work nice, like the receptionist who kindly welcomes you every day. This is not the time to negotiate, settle scores or ask for a promotion.
4) KARAOKE OR SALSA?
Yes of course! Your employer has paid to organize these activities, don’t be a party pooper. Join in. Sing and dance in moderation with a “G” rating in mind, even when the lights are dim.
5) OFFICE WEAR OR UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER?
Respect the dress code. If there isn’t one, the time of day, the location and even the food are all clues. No info or dress code on the invitation? Follow my maternal grandmother’s advice “When in doubt, find out”. If you will be transitioning from work to happy hour, a festive accessory or seasonal colors, will be in harmony with the occasion. Watch out for “just for laughs” attire. Come the moment of your performance evaluation, big boss could remember you wearing Rudolph’s antlers and red nose.
6) LEAVE SILENTLY OR SALUTE?
Leaving in silence without thanking will be negatively noticed. Thank your immediate supervisor and wish him or her “Merry Christmas!” If they are also available, thank the committee organizers and even big boss or the owner. Sending an email or a handwritten note the next day is always a good idea.
7) INSTAGRAM THE MOMENT OR NOT?
Respect your colleagues and clients. “Please” before “Cheese”. Ask before you click and especially before you publish. If you are the organizer, know that more and more employers choose to have a click free party. Or, everyone gathers for the group selfie, and then away with technology. Thus, all memories are made face to face and not face to roots (head down looking at the screen). 😉
8) ASSUME YOU CAN CONSUME OR NOT?
Alcohol consumption and now recreational cannabis, as you know, should always be in moderation. And the holiday office party is probably not the time to make your “puffing out”… At a work function, it starts with your employer’s policy. Respect it. Don’t go on an empty stomach. Eat a little snack before. You are not invited to drink and eat. You are there to build relationships.
9. FASHIONABLY LATE?
No, never. Even when you are a star, it is disrespectful. Arrive on time. As a bonus you will have “ear time” with senior executives. They are usually the first ones there to welcome everyone. Later, they will be sought by one and all.
Go, smile, spread the joy of the holidays and shine to make your 2019 career vision come true.
And if you’re still intimidated by the idea of networking, read this previous post of my best tips and tricks.