The holiday season brings with it an occurrence that happens rarely throughout the year: the meeting of work life with your social life. Sure, office parties have plenty of similarities to other parties you may attend: food, socializing, booze. But it is imperative to remember that company parties, while they are fun and relaxing events, are also a test of your interpersonal skills and a way for the higher ups to see how you fit in with the company.
One of the most important things to remember at a company party is that you do not have to be an absolute paparazzi-worthy social sensation. You do not want to be that guy who ends up dancing on a table with a lampshade on his head at the end of the night. Turn on your best manners and your charm. Be polite to everyone (including wait staff), and ready to shake everyone's hand. Bring up pleasant conversation topics as you would at any networking event, such as sports and interesting current events. But don't gossip or spread rumors, or bring up controversial topics. It is important to find the right balance between that carefree spirit of the holidays and appropriate conversation and behavior.
Secondly, even if there is an open bar, limit the number of alcoholic drinks you consume. Limit yourself to one drink per hour (at the very most), and drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you have. If you are uncomfortable drinking plain water, order a non-alcoholic drink to maintain the party feel. If you mistakenly drink too much, be sure to call a cab or get someone to pick you up. If you spot a coworker who has had to much, help him or her act in a responsible manner. Hail a cab, or offer your coworker a ride home.
A very effective way to immediately communicate a positive image of yourself is to dress appropriately. As we discussed in my recent blog "Christmas Party Fashion For Men", your outfit should be a step above what you would normally wear to the office. Aim for a professional but still festive appearance. An easy way to do this is with some nice, dressy accessories, such as cuff links, a pocket square, or a pair of wing tipped oxford shoes. Even if you would not normally wear a tie to work, wear one to your company party. Select a tie in a holiday-inspired color, such as bright red, gold, or silver. Tie it in one of the most eye-catching tie knots, the Full Windsor, which is traditionally reserved for special occasions.
How about when it's time to leave? If it is a large party, and you have been talking with dozens of different people, there is nothing wrong with quietly and discreetly slipping away. If it is a smaller party, take a few minutes to shake the hands of the people with whom you've been speaking, and say goodbye. If the party was hosted by a coworker, it is basic good manners to sincerely thank him or her before you leave. Take a moment to make sure you did not leave any empty plates or cups sitting around the host's house. A couple days thereafter, take the time to send a short, hand-written thank you note to the host's house. This is a practice that is commonly overlooked nowadays, however it is one that should be faithfully practiced. People always remember you when you take the time to send a thank you note.
Author: Michael Taylor is a Marketing Manager at TIE SNUG. TIE SNUG eliminates continuous adjusting and makes wearing a tie more comfortable. Knowing the current tie styles is an important step when deciding what to wear to an interview. Feel confident that you look your best with TIE SNUG. For more information or to make a purchase, please visit http://www.tiesnug.com/blog/.
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