The small, overcrowded room feels cramped, maybe even a little uncomfortable. You're not sure you want to be attending another corporate holiday party but with so many opportunities to connect and network how can you say no? So, you have a drink to ease the tension and make the night pass quicker, (who can say no to an open bar?). Before you know it, you’ve had one too many, and you're behaving, let’s say less than professionally.
Does that hit close to home? Here are a few tips to help you avoid falling into that trap in the future.
1. Don't Drink Too Much.
We've all seen that person. The drunken guy who's far too touchy at a work party, or an inebriated woman who thinks grinding with colleagues is a good idea. Believe me, I’m an advocate for debauchery -- as long as it happens at the right place and time. Among friends where there's a lack of judgment it's okay to let loose. At work events, it’s a good idea to assume that your behavior is being observed every minute because it probably is.
2. Don't Arrive Too Late Or Overstay Your Welcome.
There's no real general rule about when to arrive at a party but if you're attending a work function, it's best not to be later than 30 minutes after the start time. The same goes for when to leave. If there is a definite stop time posted in the invitation, it's best not to stay longer than 30 minutes past that stop time.
3. Don't Make It About Business or Politics.
It's assumed that there will be some conversation about business if you're at work event, but to make conversations only about shop talk makes you uninteresting. It's good to talk about current events or things that interest you. Talk about anything but the obvious. Reading a newspaper or magazine the day of the party will give you an opportunity to start a conversation that is not work related, plus you'll seem really informed and super smart.
4. Don't Monopolize Conversations.
When you're in a group, allow others to contribute to the conversation. Leaving space at the end of a sentence is a good queue for others to jump in. We've all been in conversations that feel more like monologs from overzealous people . Remember you're not a speaker at the party, and the attendees are not your audience. If you're in any type of leadership position, you likely enjoy telling stories and most of the stories probably revolve around your life. So when you're in a conversation step back and ask the other person what they find interesting.
5. Don't Invite More Than Two People.
Holiday parties have budgets plain and simple. As a general rule, you should be respectful of your host’s food and beverage planning. If you intend to invite a group or more than the number allocated on the invite, its a good idea to check in with the host and see if it's okay. One can assume a rate of attrition, as the date gets closer, so it's usually not a problem for the host to accommodate.
With all the extensive socializing during the holiday season it’s easy to put blinders on as you go from party to party. Check in with yourself as often as you can during the holiday season and do your best not to be that person.