By Jo Anne Kunin


Your annual office party is probably just around the corner and it’s important to realize that this event is still about business no matter how festive it may be. In order to avoid being office fodder for the Monday after the event here are some simple tips to keep in mind. Besides, do you really want to be remembered as the guy who danced like John Travolta at the party, or the woman who thought she looked good in the Britney Spears outfit?

· Find out the specifics of the event. Where it is going to be, what time it is, what is the attire and who is invited. Even though your spouse may know everyone you work with, if the invite is for office personnel only, abide by the invitation.

· Keep your attire professional. This is not the time to wear anything low cut, too tight, too short, or anything from the back of your closet left over from the 80s. Do take the extra effort to find out what the accepted attire will be.

· If spouses are invited you need to brief, or in some cases, debrief yours for the event. You have probably shared more with your spouse about office politics then you should have, make sure he/she does not spill the beans and get you into trouble.

· Office holiday parties are not to be missed. Even though you may not want to go, you need to make an appearance. This is still a business function and your attendance is expected.

· Be sensitive to different religious backgrounds. Wish party goers Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah, you don’t want to make someone uncomfortable for different beliefs.

· How much to eat? How much to drink? Who to dance with? Everything if fine, but keep it in moderation. One or two visits to the buffet table, one or two drinks, and dancing with your spouse and co-workers is all acceptable. Tread lightly when asking the CFO’s wife to boogie down.

· Hold drinks or food in your left hand. Keeping your right hand dry and free of food debris in order to be able to shake the hand of party goers.

· Do try and mingle throughout the group. This is an excellent opportunity to network and introduce yourself to senior executives in the company. Keep your conversations light and do not concentrate on business. After an appropriate interval, excuse yourself and move on.

· How long to stay? It’s best to arrive within 30 minutes of the start and stay at a minimum of an hour. This should allow you time to have something to eat, mingle and possibly dance.

· Keep all behavior appropriate. You don’t want your actions captured on cell phones or security cameras and spread through office email in seconds. Your reputation will definitely be effected. Oh, and stay away from romancing your co-worker.

· Always thank your host or the event organizer. This will show your appreciation for the work involved and make you stand out from other employees.

Celebrate, have a good time, enjoy the successes of the year and be thankful for all that you have.

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