Do you dread the office party?
For you is it akin to a trip into the celebrity jungle, finding yourself with a bunch of people you hardly know, being instructed to have fun and behave impeccably whilst eating food that resembles a bushtucker trial? You know there are dangers and you know someone is ready to see you fall and all under the watchful eye of the boss.
Well, it is that time again – and whether you are looking forward to it or dreading it, you are expected to attend!
We asked personal branding consultant Carol Doughty for her five top tips to help you have a good time without denting your professional reputation and ruining your prospects of promotion…
1.Turn up on time
This is your opportunity to network and build bridges with colleagues so don’t blow it by being late.
Even if parties are not really your thing its bad manners to arrive late to any event that someone has made an effort to organize.
Remember to personally thank the organizers and your boss before you leave.
2. Eat, drink but don’t be merry
Being sozzled at the office do is not a good look!
Rest assured, there will be someone armed and ready to instagram that special moment, eyes glazed with your tie round your head.
Resist the temptation to down every drink in sight because it’s a free bar. You will pay a much heavier price if you damage your future prospects due to drink-fuelled behaviour.
Eat something before you arrive or delay drinking until you have had some food.
Don’t however grab copious amounts of canapés or race to the front of the queue at the buffet. It’s not a good idea to make it so obvious you normally live on beans on toast.
Always wait for your host or organizer to take the lead and try to look nonchalant as you eagerly await your feast.
3. Make sure there is only one type of Christmas cracker you are trying to pull
There will never be a good time to flirt with an office colleague. Just don’t go there.
4. Follow the dress code
This is not a time for you to reveal your previously hidden alter ego to your unsuspecting colleagues. Nor is it a time to bring out your collection of themed Christmas clothing.
‘Dress festive’ does not mean reindeer jumpers, themed ties, Santa earrings or tinsel. It’s an indication to add a little sparkle and that is all.
Gentlemen, if it’s black tie then make sure your DJ fits impeccably, that your dress shirt is as white as the snow outside, and your shoes are clean and heeled. If it’s lounge suits, again, fit is key and perhaps accessorize with one of this year’s plush velvet ties.
Ladies keep it simple, stylish and covered. Wear shoes you can stay upright in. Carry a bag with a handle to eliminate one more thing you have to juggle. Your secret Santa, canapés and a glass of bubbly are enough to carry before something has to give. A dry cleaning bill from the boss would be a truly miserable result.
5. Don’t bare too much especially your soul
It’s not just revealing clothes you have to guard against but also the temptation to gossip or to reveal your inner most thoughts to your boss.
Also talking shop with your team is a no no. It’s a time to have fun. The clue is in the title ‘p-a-r-t-y’ and so don’t be a party bore and keep turning the conversation round to work related issues. This is a perfect opportunity to show off your social skills and prove you can function outside of the workplace.
However, keep it dignified and be the first to go home rather than the last to leave!
Carol Doughty is a Personal Branding Consultant and Image Professional who runs workshops and one to one sessions offering specialist advice on style and presentation skills for interviews and the workplace.