The holidays are here and that means your corporate holiday party is right around the corner. After a hard year at work, this party means it’s time to let loose and be yourself, right?
Well, not exactly.
While your corporate holiday party is for your enjoyment, it’s still business – though perhaps not “as usual.” Here are some cardinal rules to follow:
Limit the Alcohol
If there’s one thing you don’t want to be doing on Monday, it’s regretting whatever it was you said on Friday or Saturday night. While the party might have an open bar, it’s a good idea to maintain moderation. Believe us, you don’t want to be dodging those looks come Monday.
Keep Your Dress Modest
Your corporate party isn’t a New Year’s Eve bash with your friends. Remember that when you’re dressing for the occasion. While you might be tempted to dress extra sexy, remember that you’ll likely be talking to your boss and upper management at the event; keep your image professional.
Check the Guest List
If your party is strictly for plus-ones and you show up with your spouse, parents and nephew, things could get pretty awkward pretty fast. Make sure you have a clear understanding of who you can bring to the party – and who should stay home.
Leave in a “Timely” Fashion
If you really don’t want to go to the party, don’t make it obvious; show up and spend a respectable amount of time at the party. On the flipside, if you’re living it up, don’t be the guy who shuts down the place. Take some social cues and leave when it feels most appropriate.
Get Some Face Time
If you don’t work with the president or CEO of the company on a daily basis, the corporate holiday party might be one of your only opportunities to get some face-time with upper management. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and talk about something interesting you might have in common with him or her or a tidbit about what you do for the company. Gauge your time with him or her though; no one wants to feel like they’ve been cornered and held hostage!
Give Heartfelt Thanks
While you enjoy the party, take note to offer a special thanks to the president, CEO or head of human resources – whoever was in charge of or is paying for the party (or both). Be sure to specifically compliment one or two things you loved about the party, like a great band or a delicious dinner.
Recite Your Toast
Corporate holiday parties are the perfect time to recognize employees who had great achievements during the year. If you’re going to be honored, jot down a few things to say in your speech or toast, but don’t practice it too much. The idea is to come off genuine but not rehearsed. Be sure to thank whoever offered you the award or recognition.
Prepare for Small Talk
Like it or not, corporate parties usually involve a heavy dose of small talk. Have a few topics in the back of your mind at the ready for awkward silent intervals or good conversation starters. Steer clear of politics or something super boring – like the weather.
Participate in Embarrassing Activities
While you don’t want to get drunk and embarrass yourself, it’s okay to get into the self-deprecating spirit when appropriate. For example, if you company party includes a karaoke competition, participating will boost morale and show solidarity. So definitely practice up on your famous rendition of Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels.”
Give Gifts Elsewhere
If you’re exchanging gifts with some coworkers but not others, save the Santa act for another venue. Giving gifts to a select few at the party could make others feel left out, and even giving to everyone could feel awkward.
Are you a Las Vegas corporate holiday party pro? Give us your best etiquette rule!