If you have invited clients to the party, then remember they are your responsibility. Make sure they have a drink, food and are introduced to others. Avoid leaving them alone for long periods of time.
Be positive. This is not the time to complain about work.
Avoid talking business. Again, this is not the time and place. In fact, you may be perceived as a bore if you can't talk about anything else other than business. You will also appear boring if you make all conversation about you.
If spouses are invited, then be sure to introduce them to those they may not know. Also, make an effort to include them in conversations.
Mingle. Take time to network and schmooze. A holiday party is a great way to build business relationships. Make an effort to learn about your co-workers, including those above you, as well as subordinates. Show a personal side by asking about their hobbies or other interests. Also, let co-workers know that you appreciate working with them, and be sure to thank those who may have assisted you on special projects.
Don't be the last to leave.
At the conclusion of the party, do not gather a group of co-workers and ask if they would like to go to a strip club or any other place that may be viewed as inappropriate.
Before leaving, thank the person responsible for coordinating the party.
After the party, send a thank-you note to top management for hosting the event.
Don't forget to follow up on commitments that you may have made during the party.
So what do you do if you did act inappropriately? Own up to your bad behavior as soon as possible. Write a brief but professional note to those you may have offended, expressing a sincere apology for your indiscretions. Make it clear that it will not happen again.
While the office party is a time of celebration and reflection on the past year, it is not the time to be known as the "life of the party." Reputations and careers can be ruined during this seemingly innocent gathering. Remember, even if the CEO does not know you by name, chances are that the boss will remember your face. Make sure it is positive!
Pam Harvit, M.S., is a certified corporate and protocol consultant. She is employed by Merck and Co. E-mail her at phar...@suddenlink.net.