Office party mistakes are a hot topic at this time of year. CBC radio interviewed me on Christmas party etiquette advice. So I have put together my 7 biggest office party mistakes below and some tips to avoid them. (Click here to listen to the 6 minute Canadian Broadcasting Company clip)
The biggest mistake is not attending the party – Go Go Go.
Skipping the party may suggest that you’re not invested in the organization or that you’re not a team player. Even if you’re a confirmed party-pooper or shy, at least make a brief appearance and then leave early. If you try the tips below you may even enjoy yourself.
A touch too much liquid courage – know you limits.
I recall a conversation with an office manager who had an employee that got so drunk to the point of passing out and the next day couldn’t remember but everyone else sure did.
She was in a sales and marketing role and unfortunately, this was a CLM (career limiting move). The moment your colleagues or management see you out of control, they will likely view you differently. They may question your professionalism and opportunities for advancement may leak away.
Taboo topics like negativity, gossip and shop talk.
Limit the negativity and office gossip. Come prepared for conversation but listen more than you speak. My favourite question to ask to get the conversational ball rolling is “How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working? What do you do for fun?” If spouses and partners are invited, limit the shoptalk. Make sure to introduce them to others and include them.
Not too early and not too late.
Be on time, not too early. If you arrive too late it’s hard to catch up to the mood and energy level. Also you don’t want to be the last to leave. (Remember to take an uber home if you make mistake #2.)
Don’t be exclusive and don’t be a wall flower
Don’t just hang out with the same people you click with. Mix and Mingle. The reason for bringing people together is to enable them get to know others beyond their work unit. And remember this can be a networking event. If you’re seeking to advance in your career within the company, it’s a great way to meet people you may not ordinarily have access to.
This can be hard to do especially if you are shy. Maybe make a game out of it and challenge yourself to meet 2 or 3 new people and reconnect with a few people outside of your immediate work area.
Take your clothing up a notch.
Bear it mind that it’s a business event. Go for a polished look that matches the dress code of the venue – whatever you wear. The location will give you clues. If the party is at a 5 star hotel then dress it up. If it’s a more casual venue, you don’t need to be too formal.
And if you’re not sure or are new to the organization, don’t be afraid to ask how people typically dress for the occasion.
Don’t suffer from Selfitis.
While it might be tempting to snap a selfie or check your phone every five minutes, try to keep technology to a minimum. Connect and converse. And only post pictures to social media with permission. Especially if someone has messed up on mistake #2.
This holiday season to avoid the office party mistakes remember it’s business first and a party second. Have a fun time and we wish you happiness and success in 2019.