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(NECN) - Anyone who has given in to the temptation of too much punch at the office party can relate with a smile to the antics of Elaine and her Elaine Dance from Seinfeld, but, beware, a holiday party is a work event no matter what.
Here to offer some safe do's and don'ts for the holiday season is Jodi Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.
Festive Attire: Generally, men are safe with what they wear to the office, just cleaned up a bit. For women, we have so many more choices. Opt for dressier fabrics and use your accessories to express your festive side. Remember, your outfit should say "polished professional," not "party animal!"
Talk the Talk: The holiday party is no time for shop-talk. If you need to review the Jones file, set up a meeting for next week. Instead be sure to have a few topics of conversation prepared in advance. Have an answer to "what's new?" And be aware of some lighter current event topics. Still not sure? At least read the front page of each newspaper section before going to the event.
Going Solo: Even if you have been invited to the holiday party with a guest, take a long and loving look at the person you are planning to bring. If that person is truly introverted and hates crowd, you might be better going alone. It is no fun to baby-sit a date while juggling colleagues and clients.
Your Grand Entrance: Timing for these professional parties is important. Most of the big-wigs tend to arrive early and leave early. You, too, should plan to be on time and leave before things get too messy!
Face-Time: This is your chance to have a quick conversation with the power-brokers. Do your research, find out what their background is, what they are interested in, and have some light conversation ready so that rather than having a meeting at the office, you can have a relaxed conversation at the holiday party. Holiday parties are a great time to make connections and build relationships.
Two Drink Maximum: While you are at the office holiday party, please keep the alcohol intake to a minimum. No-one's professional demeanor ever improved with the consumption of alcohol. Be sure to eat something before you start drinking. And after one or two, skip to the soft drinks.
BOTTOM LINE: For most of us, having a happy holiday means still having a job. If you want to really celebrate, host a gathering with friends and family. Be sure to have an appropriate boundary between your professional and your personal life. Better to be the one driving the intoxicated boss home than the other way around!
Watch the attached video for more.