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Holiday Party Guide To Staying Above the Waterline

Don’t go South…it will be remembered

By Liz Bentley

The holiday season is in full swing, which potentially means your calendar is booked multiple nights. It can be quite the season to keep up with and we have discovered that some people do it more gracefully than others.

Hearing stories and reports during 360 interviews, sometimes even a year later, on people’s bad and inappropriate behavior at holiday parties is not a rarity. And let me tell you, those stories can stick around for years… branding a competent, maybe even rising star, negatively. You do not want to wake up the next morning and cringe at the Facebook and social media posts from your coworkers. So here’s a quick guide on how to nail the holiday season and come out shining.

  • This is not your friend’s rager; it’s a business event. Keep it together and do not over serve yourself. This is a time to connect and celebrate the year, not a chance to become company legend.
  • Have you heard of the “Pizza Rule”? In our travels, we found a manager who encourages his team to eat pizza to line the stomach before the event so he lowers his chances of subordinates misbehaving. Not a bad idea!
  • Circulate. Even though you shouldn’t drink like a fish, you should move like one. Don’t get hunkered down in one place, or with one group, or with your “safe” friends. This is your chance to network, meet new people, connect with superiors, and make new contacts.
  • Lighten up. This is a party, not a time to discuss a project. Stop talking about work and get to know people. Ask people about hobbies and pastimes.
  • No gossip. This is a fun, festive night. No mud slinging.
  • Don’t talk too much. Listen up, it’s time to get to know other/new people. Watch out for personal space invasions. We know the music can get loud and you have to lean in, but take it easy. And go light on the hugging, you know what I’m talking about…
  • Dancing…I guess it’s OK, but keep it PG. Walk the line with grace, don’t be too uptight/antisocial, but don’t dance on the table while belting out your favorite holiday tune.

The holiday party is your moment to shine, so show up a winner. Our TrendSpotter Alert is this: More and more, holiday parties are shifting away from formal sit-down dinners to cocktail parties full of mingling and socializing. Many companies are even limiting the flow of alcohol to help avoid the above pitfalls. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and take advantage of the opportunity to branch out of your circle. Stay professional and have fun.