10 Tips For Holiday Party Etiquette.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. And you have to go to your office holiday party. Here are some simple tips to make it much more bearable and hopefully, wildly successful.

  1. Dress up. Remember, this is a party, so dress up a bit to show off. Wear that snazzy tie or that elegant scarf. Jewelry is a must. This is the time to step out and be noticed — but don't go too overboard. No santa ties, plunging necklines, or revealing dresses. But do dress up.
  2. Be On Time. Don't be early or late  — show up 30-45 minutes after the start time. Gauge the parking lot — step in when there is a reasonable amount of people.
  3. Two Drinks Max. Don't imbibe the liquor too much — this is ample networking time — you need to reach out, meet and greet new people. Switch to soda or juice to keep the fluids going - you'll be talking a lot.
  4. Don't Nosh Too Much. You want to eat, but not too much. Try to stick to the foods that are quickly eaten with a minimum of mess and utensils (no chicken wings). If you can, hit the restroom immediately after to check for any errant bits of spinach between the teeth.
  5. Have a Wingman. Either bring a date or someone who will compliment your presence at the party. A person who will keep the conversation flowing but not take over the entire group. The ability to play off of one another only makes the conversation that much more lively.
  6. Mingle. Don't spend all your time with your peeps. This is the time to connect with influential people that might help your career. Engage them in conversation that will take them away from work and drift into interests and hobbies.
  7. Don't Spend All Your Time Gossiping. Keep the talk light and personal (again, interests, hobbies, kids, etc.). If you have to talk business (taking cues from your boss), talk about what the company accomplished and what could be planned for 2011. Talk future business. If you have some cool ideas, test pitching them — but don't go too far. You should know when to pull back on the rudder.
  8. Thank Your Boss. Make sure that you make your way over to the boss and thank them for the shindig. Also thank them for their guidance, assistance, and patience over the past year — this will endear you to them.
  9. Leave Before It Ends. Don't be the guest who wouldn't leave. Make sure you do the rounds of management and your team, but leave before the last person walks out the door — preferably 30 minutes before the stated end of the party. Give your regrets and make haste out the door.
  10. Have FUN. This is a time to test and hone your connecting, social, and political skills. You need to show people that you can move within social (who you know) and political (who knows you) circles. But most of all, smile and enjoy!