End-of-year parties sometimes end in career disaster. From embarrassing yourself on the dance floor to spilling a drink on the CEO’s brand new Gucci shirt, we all know someone who’s turned an end-of-year party into a career limiting move.
This year, turn your office party into the perfect opportunity to further your career and impress the powers that be — all while still having fun.
Just as you would prepare for a client presentation, take some time to read our 10 tips to make your end-of-year party work for you and hopefully get that promotion you want!
- Dress to impress: Find out the dress code and stick to it! Informal or party wear may be allowed, but don’t go overboard. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate, ask around the office and see what everyone else is wearing.
- Be prepared: Have handy conversational topics ready. Try to foresee awkward situations (perhaps meeting a colleague who missed the promotion you got), and have a response ready. If you’re taking a partner, brief them on the event and suggest some do’s and don’ts (like don’t ask the boss how her husband is — they just got divorced).
- Manage your time: Make time for the function, don’t “squeeze it in” or treat it as a waste of time. Arrive promptly and don’t leave too early. Being “fashionably late” shows disrespect for others.
- Moderation in everything: Join in and loosen up, but don’t over-indulge. It may be an open bar, and the CEO may have encouraged guests to make full use of it, but exercise a little restraint. Often, a discreet show of personal control will be quietly observed by those in charge.
- Mingle: Don’t just chat to immediate colleagues or schmooze the boss. Also chat to junior personnel and those from other departments. Ask questions that show you’re interested in work, as well as other people’s families and lives outside of work. If it’ll make you feel more confident, prep some questions!
- Be positive: Don’t be a scandal-monger, don’t gossip, never whine and don’t talk behind someone’s back. Find something nice to say — about people, the company and the past year. Make sure it’s genuine though!
- Be friendly and courteous: Try your best to include everyone, listen when people talk and never monopolise the conversation. Show you have other facets to your character and other interests outside of work.
- Network, but discreetly: A corporate event lets you strengthen or enlarge your personal network. Chat to a broad range of guests and colleagues, even make time for those you may not like. It’s the season of goodwill, after all. Take the opportunity to mend fences and clear up misunderstandings.
- Have fun: No one likes a killjoy, but don’t go overboard. If you struggle to draw the line between fun and too much fun, stop and think, how will I feel about this on Monday morning…?
- Learn from the experience: After the event, carry out a self-appraisal. Did you make junior colleagues feel valued? Show top management you can socialise with a diverse range of people? Network and entrench your personal positioning as an approachable, interesting individual who knows how to unwind? If not, make a note and do better next year!