Its that time again, peace on earth and good will to all. Or at least it would be if you were not worried about those darned office parties. What are they anyway? Are they work or are they parties? Here are some tips to help you navigate the maze of professional pitfalls that lurk behind that innocent invitation to celebrate with your co-workers.
Keep these tips in mind and emerge with your reputation clearer and stronger than ever before.
1. If you are at an event organized by your company, a vendor, a co-worker or a professional organization, then you are at work. Dont do or say anything that you would not do or say while in the office. If you use only one tip to get you through your holiday networking, please let it be this tip.
2. Meeting someone at a holiday party in December does not mean they share your belief system. Many of your co-workers and business partners enjoy sharing this special time with you; that is not a pass card to preach your religion to them. It also does not mean you must abandon your beliefs, just be respectful of others.
3. Dress appropriately. It is fun to have a special new outfit or holiday tie. But if one of your co-workers approaches you and says, I never knew you had a tattoo on your _____ before. Then your professional image has been compromised.
4. Leave holiday stress at the door. Lets face it; it can be a difficult time of year. You have extra social obligations, extra work obligations and additional financial commitments. Nobody wants to hear about your problems at a party (even if they just dumped their problems on you).
5. Be a good listener. If you really listen to others and give them your full attention, they will think you are the best conversationalist they have ever met.
6. How many drinks would you have if you were sitting at your desk? OK, then, why do some people think seven kamikazes at the company party is a good idea? You dont come to the office tipsy, why do it now?
7. Mind the mistletoe. This is not the time to hit on the office hottie.
8. Dont be this years most viewed video clip. Every company has a holiday party story. It usually involves sitting on a copy machine or hitting on the bosses wife or getting caught making out in the coat closet. Things have changed. Now we dont just tell the stories, we film them and show them to everyone on the internet. What a great thing for your family, friends and future employers to see.
9. This is a business event, but not a meeting. It is OK to discuss business, but dont come with a formal agenda. Think of this as a team building event. Your common bond is business and now you are working on your teamwork and social interaction.
Now off you go, go to that office party. Be confident, have fun, just do not be the number one most viewed YouTube video tomorrow!