How to make a good impression at your office party


By Diane Sofranec | Managing Editor, Pest Management Professional

Office parties offer a unique opportunity to make a good impression. If you look and act professional, your colleagues and managers will see you as an asset to the company.

Too often, employees ruin their reputations at office parties. These tips will ensure your coworkers never discover you can’t hold your liquor, you like to dress like a tramp, or you think your boss is hot.

Behave yourself. Conduct yourself like the valued employee you are. Don’t even think about telling offensive jokes, puking all over the place, or hooking up with your office crush in the bathroom. Engage in polite conversation, avoiding politics and religion. Ask about holiday plans, keeping in mind people celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. And don’t complain about work; this is the one time of the year your coworkers will want to skip the subject.

Be friendly. Make an effort to chat with coworkers you see regularly but are too busy to get to know. Better yet, introduce yourself to colleagues you haven’t yet met. Cultivating new contacts now may make it easier for you to advance your career later.

Don’t overindulge. Although your company is picking up the tab, an office party is not the place to drink and eat as though you’ve just ended a hunger strike. Go easy on the food and especially, the booze.

Dress appropriately. By all means get festive, but don’t go overboard. Keep it tasteful and classy. Wear clothes that are suitable for a work event because that’s what an office party is.

Give thanks. Take a moment to personally thank your boss and/or the owner of your company — for a great year, for throwing a holiday party, for the holiday bonus if you’re lucky enough to get one. Don’t put it off; do it just as the party gets underway. You may miss your chance if they duck out early or are deep in conversation.

Don’t miss out. Maybe you would rather spend the evening with your cat and the latest issue of People magazine, but those in charge of the party will notice you’re not there — and that won’t be good for your career. Make an appearance and stay long enough to ensure your coworkers see you there.

Attending your office party can be fun if you think of it as a way to give your reputation a boost. Be professional and maintain your composure at all times. If clients are invited too, that’s all the more reason to keep your behavior businesslike.