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The Holidays Are Near: Time for Business Party Protocol!

Categories: Workplace Etiquette

Last week I blogged about holiday gift giving. Now on to some tips to protect your reputation (and career) during holiday parties!
Survive the Office Holiday Party

‘Tis the season to be jolly …and attend holiday office parties. Sure, everyone loves a party. But in the business world, these seemingly innocent gatherings can be a recipe for disaster.

It’s more critical than ever to know the proper manners for etiquette during a work or business-related party.

Career information site did a survey in 2006, that showed nearly 15 percent of those employees polled say workers at their firms have either been disciplined or fired because of their actions at a holiday party.

According to an annual survey conducted by Battalia Winston, an executive search firm, 15 percent of companies said that inappropriate behavior at the holiday party had negatively impacted an employee’s career growth at that organization.

Don’t become one of these statistics!

Here are 11 important party etiquette tips to keep in mind:

  1. Even though it’s a party, remember that your choice of clothing should be suitable for a normal work setting. Women should avoid tight-fitting clothing and short skirts. Men can’t wear jeans with holes in them or keep their shirts unbuttoned more than one or two buttons.
  2. The rules of proper grooming also apply when attending a holiday party at work. Sure, you can “let your hair down” a bit and relax. But now’s not the time to experiment with a drastic new ‘do. And men shouldn’t arrive with a 5 o’clock stubble.
  3. Watch what you drink. No one likes a drunk – and getting intoxicated with coworkers, and possibly your boss around, is not a good idea. According to the Battalia Winston survey, to keep bad behavior in check, 58 percent of companies took steps in 2007 to limit alcohol consumption.
  4. Unless it absolutely can’t wait until the next business day, don’t talk about work issues during a holiday office party. Remember, this is a time to relax and have fun – not conduct business.
  5. If you are the boss or some type of upper management, the office holiday party is a good time to give holiday gifts to employees. No work time is being wasted. Just remember:  If you want to recognize a specific employee with a special gift, be discreet. The same applies for gifts exchanged between coworkers. This will avoid jealousy issues with workers who may feel short changed.
  6. Whether there is dancing or not, be sure to mix. Don’t spend all of your time with one person – it’s the best way to avoid office gossip the next day.
  7. Just because you notice mistletoe hanging doesn’t give you permission to grab people standing under it and kiss them. According to the survey, 18 percent of those polled say they witnessed their colleagues getting romantic during office parties – don’t be one of these clueless professionals.
  8. Always hold drinks in your left hand. This frees your right hand for handshakes, and ensures that it stays warm and dry for such gestures.
  9. Don’t be a wallflower. Holiday office parties are great opportunities to meet people in different divisions of companies, or get to know your coworkers better. Work the room. Meet and greet. Don’t cling to one person or hide somewhere.
  10. Always thank the host of a holiday office party the next day. Won’t your boss or supervisor be impressed with your etiquette when they read your thank-you note showing your appreciation for their office party? You would thank the host or hostess in a non-business setting, so why should the office holiday party be any different?
  11. Have fun, but remember -- it’s still an office party.

The holidays will be fun and good for your career if you remember these workplace etiquette rules for office party protocol.

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