Posted by Michelle Schusterman on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 00:00
Before your vacation officially begins, you’ve got one last task to take care of at work: making a good impression at the upcoming company holiday party. However you may feel about tinsel and twinkly lights strung all over the office, the holiday party is a great opportunity for networking.
Here are five business etiquette tips on how to get the most out of your company’s holiday extravaganza:
1. Check the dress code.
Not all holiday parties are created equal. If this is your first holiday season with your current employer, ask your coworkers if the event is formal or just business-dressy. In any case, err on the conservative side in terms of both style and colors. This is a networking event with your colleagues, not a night at the club.
2. Shake hands with strangers.
Chances are you’ll see a few unfamiliar faces at the office holiday party, such as employees from other departments or your colleagues’ friends and family. Make an effort to mingle and connect with people outside your team. Executives and board members usually attend holiday parties, so maintain a friendly yet professional demeanor. Don’t forget to bring along a few business cards to hand out to new contacts. Your efforts at networking won’t work out if your coworkers’ eggnog-addled brains can’t remember your name the next day.
3. Resist the temptation to overindulge.
You’re off the clock, so grab a hot buttered rum and enjoy a few laughs with your colleagues. Just don’t be the employee who ends up serenading the CEO with an off-key version of “Santa Baby” while everyone cringes in embarrassment (or, worse, records it and uploads to YouTube). Keep the liquid cheer to one or two glasses and save your brilliant “Jingle Bell Rock (You Like a Hurricane)” parody for family functions.
4. Keep the conversation light and friendly.
You talk work all day with your colleagues — the holiday party is the time to get to know one another better. You might discover the bookkeeper shares your passion for Frisbee golf, or the controller has a few great new horror author recommendations for you. Steer clear of potentially hot-button topics, including politics, religion and social issues. Venting about the company or your boss is also a bad idea, as you never know who might be listening.
5. Follow up with your new connections.
If you made lot of new connections at the holiday party, be sure to follow up promptly while their memory of meeting you is still fresh. Connect with them on LinkedIn or other social media, and keep that personal connection going. Invite the bookkeeper to a Frisbee golf tournament, swap horror novels with the controller and invite that “Santa Baby”-singing colleague out for a night of karaoke … with a strict “no recording” rule, of course.
How do you handle networking at the company holiday party? Share your business etiquette tips in the comments below.