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The Company Holiday Party: Dos And Don’ts From The Pros

The company holiday party might provide great comic relief at the movies this year, but unfortunately many can testify that this event falls into a class all its own. It’s neither 100 percent work or 100 percent play, and it’s up to you to strike the balance. Here are our best party tips heading into the festive season.

Company Holiday Parties Serve (Career) Killer Cocktails

Alcohol policies at company holiday parities took big swings in the past few decades. Leaving the open-bar policies of the 80s behind, many companies looked to increase social responsibility (and career viability) measures starting in the 90s. The tech boom and millennial-led businesses swung the open bar pendulum back again. Today, we see a mix of serving guidelines at corporate functions. However, your personal policy (not to mention professional aspirations) should guide the night. This is not a girl’s night out or a tailgate. Proceed with caution and limit consumption. Afraid of looking like a sober Scrooge? Order a club soda and lime, and most will never realize your glass is rated G.

Leave the Office Chatter at the Door

While you don’t want to let your hair down too much, you also don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming the party dud. You may only share a common bond of work with your colleagues, but dig deeper for new topics. Arrive armed with a set of ready conversation starters in case you find yourself in one of those awkward silences. Ask about holiday travel plans, where they worked prior to this company … or the old standbys like sports, children or siblings. This is not the time to complain about working conditions or attempt to bond over office politics. See a co-worker who you really need to chat with about work? Let them know that you’ll give them a call in the next day or so and quickly change the subject.

Control Your Festive Fashion

Finally, make certain your attire falls between casual and cabaret. If locations and activities allow, take a bit more care with your appearance than a typical day in the office. It’s great to show that you have more than the same suits or casual Friday clothes in your closet. What’s not typically advised is if your elevated attire attracts more attention than your enchanting conversation. Save the plunging necklines, cartoon character ties and sparkles for New Year’s Eve with friends. When in doubt, polished and dapper always win out.

The company holiday party doesn’t need to cause apprehension. As long as you remember this party straddles the line between the professional and personal, you’ll be just fine and enjoy yourself. Happy holidays from the party-planning elves at ABE!

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Austin Best Events is a JHL company.