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Real Talk: 7 Rules to Follow at Your Holiday Office Party

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Holiday Party
Holiday party season is upon us! From now until Christmas Eve, I’m booked every night of the week. On Wednesday night, I kicked off the party season by attending a swank event for young professionals at District 36 in Manhattan. Most people were on their best behavior… but not all.

CareerBuilder.com shows that 58% of offices will have a holiday party this year, up from 52% in 2010. As such, I’d like to offer some reminders of holiday party protocol, especially if you’re headed to a work event.

1. Do Attend

You may be tempted to skip out on the festivities, certainly if you have to pay for a ticket or the party is not during work hours. Be a “team player” and show up anyway. Trust, your boss takes note of who attends, and who doesn’t. There’s enough pressure to stay on point at work without losing points for skipping an event.

2. Do Remember It's a Work Function

Treat your holiday office party as a business event. Far and long ago, I worked for a company that held a talent competition at the office holiday party. One exec-in-the-making decided it was time to showcase her best Beyonce’ dance routine. She began by dutty wining -- loosely, bending over and swinging your hair in rhythm to the beat while popping your tush. She ended by giving a lap dance to a guy who looked like “Bob from Accounting.” (That was a Martin reference.) Do not be that woman.

3. Don’t Over-Drink

This appears on every list of holiday party etiquette, and yet someone always forgets (or doesn’t care) that liquor releases your inhibitions. Surely you remember the outrageous antics of the co-worker who overindulged last year (and the years before too.) The stories are fresh like they happened yesterday. You don’t want them to be told about you.

4. Don't Hook Up with Anyone
Every office has a cutie, whether it’s in the C-suite or the mailroom. An office party gives you a chance to see your co-workers in a more relaxed environment, but this is not the time to make your interest known. Wait for a clear (and sober) workday.

5. Do Dress to Impress

Your clothes can be more festive than those you wear to work (think sequins, color, and sparkles), but they shouldn't be revealing. “There is a difference between sexy and vulgar,” says style guru Tara Luizzi. She also asks that you banish any clothing with the patterns: snowflake, candy cane, Christmas tree or skier.

6. Do Mingle 

Every office has cliques. If you are a part of one, break free from the pack. A holiday party is the perfect time to meet colleagues from other divisions or offices, or become better acquainted with coworkers you see often but rarely have time to chat with.

7.  Do Avoid “Shop Talk”

Skip the conversations about deadlines, deliverables and the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting. Keep conversations personal, light and upbeat –- avoid politics, religion and office gossip.

What are your rules for your office holiday party?

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk
Filed Under: Real Talk
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