Will your behavior at the company holiday party help or hurt your career?

It’s up to you.

The way you conduct yourself at a corporate event can either strengthen relationships – or make you the laughing stock of your food & beverage organization. If the first option sounds better to you, make sure you avoid these common holiday party faux pas:

Inappropriate dress.

You may have all the self-confidence in the world, but you’re still attending a company function.

  • Choose an outfit that fits the attire description listed on the invitation. Over- or under-dressing makes you seem either clueless or disrespectful.
  • Make sure the outfit is tasteful and in-keeping with your company culture.
  • Use the :grandma rule of thumb”: If your grandmother wouldn’t approve of you wearing it, don’t don it at the holiday party.

Excessive drinking.

This is one of the most common blunders – and one of the most dangerous. Certainly, you’re entitled to loosening up a bit and enjoying a cocktail with your colleagues and superiors. But being “off the clock” doesn’t excuse you from exercising restraint. If you choose to enjoy the full bar your employer offers:

  • Limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks. Even if you feel you can responsibly consume more, others in your organization may pay attention to how much you drink.
  • Stick to one type of alcohol. Rich food paired with multiple types of alcohol can lead to nausea (which is definitely something you want to avoid at a party).
  • Intersperse non-alcoholic beverages. Drink coffee, tea, water or soft drinks in between alcoholic beverages to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream and prevent dehydration.

Overeating and bad manners.

Amazing food is bound to be a feature in your holiday event. You should absolutely enjoy it – with a few caveats:

  • Don’t rush the table. If tables are called in order to a buffet, politely wait your turn. And even if the event is less structured, display your impeccable manners by allowing others to go ahead of you.
  • Take small portions. A plate overloaded with hors d’oeuvres is an accident waiting to happen – and it makes you look greedy.
  • Never double-dip. Ever. Place a serving of condiment or spread on your plate, and then dip to your heart’s content.
  • Clean up after yourself. Leaving a swath of destruction is inconsiderate and reflects poorly on you. Neaten up your eating area, even if event staff are at your disposal.

Excessive talking, loudness and other verbal blunders.

Celebrate. Network. Have an amazing time! Just don’t be remembered as “the obnoxious one”:

  • Keep conversations brief and positive. Limit your time spent with any one person or group to five minutes, so you have the opportunity to speak to as many people as possible. Focus on thanking hosts, complimenting party organizers, revisiting successes or discussing other positive topics.
  • Don’t complain about work. Have an insufferable coworker or tough project? The holiday party is not the place to dish about it. Alcohol is a “social lubricant” that lowers inhibitions, but it’s no excuse for trash talk. Stories or complaints you share may quickly spread, be taken out of context, and harm your reputation.
  • Watch your volume. Laugh and enjoy yourself – but don’t make yourself the center of attention. If you catch sideways glances, take the cue to dial down the volume.

Arriving “fashionably late” or ghosting.

Your attendance at a holiday party is practically mandatory. Arrive during the first 30 minutes. Stay for the duration of the event. Express your thanks to your boss, and say goodbye to key people before departing.

Bottom line?

Exercising restraint and making responsible decisions are essential to having a great time at a company function. From all of us at Kinsa Group, enjoy your holiday party – safely and responsibly, that is!

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