Last year my workplace decided to hold their Christmas Party on a Thursday night at a Sydney city venue. Off the bat I am not sure if this was a good idea or bad one but I was thankful that I was unable to attend on reports on Friday morning. There was little food on offer but lots of free booze the result of which was a very, very negative effect.
One in which our team was confirmed to be immature, loud and irresponsible. From someone dirty dancing with a senior manager, to others falling over drunk out the door these people had no hope of maintaining dignity of which is still being commented on.
We all know the dangers of an office Christmas party (one of my friends even got fired after their behaviour), but there are ways that you can use it to your advantage.
Have a plan
It is the end of the year so do try and have a good time. You second objective of the night though is to meet people. Because people are more relaxed this time of year and are loosening up themsleve it is a great time to network.
Networking is extremely important in today’s work culture and the Christmas Party is the opportune time to have a chat with people you would not normally see or associate with at work. Start with your normal work buddies and then move to a wider circle. Make sure you do this before people get too intoxicated.
Find the managers
It is important to attend the Christmas Party and talk to your boss and senior managers. Make sure you spend a few minutes with them wishing them a Merry Christmas and thanking them for the party. If you have never met the head honchos find someone who can introduce you. Leaving an impression on these people even if it is small can make a huge difference in face of promotions and other opportunities.
Small talk is important
When around work colleagues you often can fall into the trap of talking about work. Try and talk about other things such as interests or hobbies. Make sure to not just ramble on, but stop and listen to those who you are engaged in a conversation with. This is especially important if you are talking to senior figures. Listen closely and ask intelligent questions. You may want to think about topics of interest or questions you can ask key people before the party.
Keep to the rules
It is always reiterated but so often people do not follow it. Just because it is a party, you still need to follow the rules of your workplace. Do not get intoxicated; do not engage in lewd behaviour and steer clear of any sexual innuendos (even if this is just a joke being told). You want to be remembered for your hard work, dedication and friendliness not your antics at last year’s party.
Just because it is a party does not mean that you wear your sexy Little Black Number with boobs overflowing. And the same goes for the guys. If you are unsure of the dress code go smart casual on the more conservative side. You want to make a good impression particularly one of sophistication and being responsible.
Be careful about the plus one
Sometimes you will have the option to bring a partner to the Christmas Party. There are a couple of things you need to think about here. Firstly you do not want to bring along someone who is going to utilise the free bar till they are on the floor screaming or in the bathrooms puking.
You also do not want to bring along someone who will feel awkward and you have to babysit. Generally people also have a different persona at work so you need to be able to measure whether your partner will be shocked at who you are, or alternatively will make you be someone different. If you are unsure how it will work, tell them partners are not invited. Going solo gives you perfect opportunity to work the room and network.
Even if you are having the worst time of your life, fake it and pretend. For one you don’t want to offend the organisers, but you also do not want to come across as whingey and complaining to your boss or co-workers.