Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women on Business writer.
It’s the time of holiday cheer – and you likely have a party (or two or three) on your calendar. Enjoy! That is, unless it’s your office party or a client event. In that case, the smart move would be to consider it work.
There’s always a fine line between work and personal life, and no place is that more evident than at office parties. On one hand, it’s a nice freebie and a chance to relax and have fun with good food, drinks and people you know well. It’s hard to resist, especially when everyone at the office is talking it up. But how will you feel the day after the party if you’ve gotten a little too chatty with your boss while on your third glass of wine, or you made a fool of yourself demonstrating a new dance move while the group egged you on?
I’d say the better course, if you’re serious about your career, is to consider the office party an extension of your work. View it as a great networking opportunity and act accordingly.
- Think ahead of time about who you’d like to meet – your boss’s boss? Division head? This is the time you can walk up, introduce yourself and make a few pleasantries.
- Look around the room and decide who to touch base with. It’s a good opportunity to talk with people you haven’t seen in a while and re-establish relationships.
- Resist the urge to make a fashion statement. You can be festive without getting carried away – nothing too low, short or tight. Save that outfit for another party.
- Hold a glass in your hand and just sip. Even though the booze may be free – it’s not worth risking your reputation by drinking too much, even if others do.
- Try not to plant yourself in one place surrounded by your closest buddies. Though it may be more fun, you will be wasting the occasion.
- Know when it’s time to leave. Don’t be the last hanger-on.
If you treat your office party as a chance to meet and greet some key people, and to solidify relationships, you can reap benefits throughout the year. After all, it’s not meant to be the most fun party of the season – it is work after all.
What do you think? Please share!