The holidays can be fabulous but they can also be kind of awkward – especially when it comes to work parties. A work party is different than a regular party, but its also different than just regular old work, so you should be prepared with a list to calm anxiety and make sure you enjoy your self and get something out of it!
Use your office holiday party as a productive way to grow your career – but make sure you shine by following these tips:
1. Network – Where else can you shmooze with HR managers, higher-ups, or pretty much any department without the need for a formal request for their time? Use your office holiday party as an opportunity to connect strategically with people who can help grow your career. A good tip is to make a list – write down the names of people you want to talk to and include their titles and potential topic points.
2. Eat first, drink later – Eating before an office holiday party is always a good idea because you never know what they will be serving. And you don’t want the bubbly going to your head! Instead, opt for a single drink that you can sip slowly and keep in hand for the evening. Or if you want to be adventurous, why not try and brew beer at home with this handy how to brew beer at home guide, and bring it in, who knows, that smile on your bosses face could be from you. Holding the drink will keep your body language open by preventing you from folding your arms or stuffing your hands in your pockets, and limiting yourself to just one will keep you in the clearest state of mind.
3. Dress to impress – Holiday parties are a great time to get noticed – but for the right reasons! Remember, this is still technically “work” so your tiny sequin cocktail dress may not be the best choice (even with a blazer, my young professional friends). Prep a great outfit ahead of time to ensure you look like the amazing employee that you are!
4. Good manners are always in style – Being polite is a great way to get people to notice you, but don’t think they won’t notice if you’re not polite also. Gestures such as thanking the people who organized the night or saying goodbye to the people you work with should be the status quo, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
5. Behave — Employers work hard to maintain their reps, so they care about the type of person you are outside of the office. Drinking too much, dressing provocatively, or sneaking out of the party all tell your employer that you’re only professional during office hours, so treat your holiday party as a social opportunity to grow your career.