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The office holiday party just might be the most important event of the year for your career! Here are some useful tips to make it count this Holiday Season…

Inc. magazine published a great guide to do’s and don’ts for your own holiday party. Here’s a summary. Take heed, and have fun!

1. Don’t skip your own office holiday party. (Duh.)

Like many of us, the natural reaction to an office party invitation is, “Count me out!” – but remember – your absence does nothing for your career, and may even harm it.

T hink of your organization’s holiday party as the best PR opportunity of the year – for you! So, if you can help it, don’t miss it!

For more “why’s” check out the post, above from the video blog, B/60.

2. Don’t dress down or way out.

Ever go to an office party to discover some coworker wearing a way-too-skimpy dress, or nightclub attire? It’s best for your career to dress up, but not too racy, too informal or too New Year’s Eve. Keep it in the zone, people!

Guys! To get inspired, check out one of our favorite video bloggers, Jeff from The Style O.G., above.

3. Don’t forget to lay down the rules for people you might bring!

We really do not recommend bringing guests to the office holiday party.  This is your time to shine in front of your coworkers, not worry about what your guest is up to on the other side of the room.

But if you must, the basic rule is, whatever your party guest says or does is going to reflect on you! Make sure to inform him or her of things never to say, and to whom, who to avoid, and to keep any alcoholic consumption or uncalled-for behavior in check. If you have any doubts that your guest can’t keep it together, please do not bring this person!

4. Don’t drink too much.

If there ever were a time not to drink too much, this would be it! Too much alcohol can be a job-ender, a sign you really can’t keep yourself under control. You might just say the wrong things to the wrong people, and we surely don’t want that!

5. Don’t look bored.

Look sharp, alert, interested, positive. After all, you never know who might be taking notes on your behavior!

6. Don’t be anti-social. “Who me?”

In this era of surfing, texting and emailing, don’t get sucked into staring at your phone all night.  Holiday parties are all about face-to-face socializing. Meet coworkers you didn’t know. Commiserate with those closest to you. Mix it up with your superiors.

7. Busy bodies lose at the holiday party.

Even just a little alcohol makes it harder to resist badmouthing or gossiping about coworkers. On the contrary, at this event, everything you say should be positive, flattering and compelling. No one likes a “Debbie Downer” (or “Donny Downer”) at the final party of the year. 

8. Don’t go in without a plan.

The Inc. article cleverly quotes our old friend, Voltaire, who said, “One always speaks badly when one has nothing to say.” Think about whom you will be speaking with at the party, and what you’ll say to them. If your plan is to chat with a top manager, think of some great comments and questions ahead of time.

Get caught up with current events and hot issues before the party, in case someone important asks you. However, don’t talk politics – your coworker might be on the other side, and a holiday party is no place for a debate or fight.

Other things to plan: How much alcohol do you plan to have? What will you wear? Who’s running the party so you can make sure to thank them? Etc. Don’t wait for the last minute!

9. Don’t not eat before drinking!

As anyone who’s experimented with alcohol knows, it’s better to eat and drink water before the alcohol, to prevent that martini from rushing to your brain.

And if you do imbibe at the party, limit yourself to one or two glasses of beer or wine.

10. Don’t flirt.

It’s the #MeToo era, people.  A holiday party is definitely not the time to hit on your boss, his or her spouse, your subordinate, the security guards, the janitorial staff or anyone else (did we leave out anyone?).

For that reason, if you don’t think you can control passions, stay smart about how much “liquid courage” you consume.

11. Don’t post photos or comments that could get you into trouble.

Avoid posting negative comments to social media about how “lame” the party was, or how much the food “sucked.” Also, do not post photos of your colleagues taking shots or engaging in other inappropriate behavior. Not nice!

12. Don’t embarrass yourself.

Saying foolish things, acting like a clown, drinking too much — it all adds up to lower bonuses, fewer promotions and possible manpower reductions (if you know what we mean). Look for opportunities to seem in control, intelligent and worthy of your job.

13. Don’t forget your hosts.

Once things start to die down at the party, and you decide it’s the right time to leave, don’t forget to thank the people who were responsible for throwing the party (unless you were the one who threw the party – in which case, pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!) If you forget to thank your hosts, make sure to drop the person an email the next day.

So there you have it, 13 great ways to preserve, and yes, improve, your reputation at the office holiday party.

Want more? Here’s a very funny, awesome summary of what not to do at holiday parties from the folks at Fast Company.

Read the article in Inc! Oh, and…

Happy Holidays!

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