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10 Ways to Stay Professional During Holiday Parties

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10 Ways to Stay Professional During Holiday Parties

The party season is upon us, and so is the career-killing potential party. With everybody in a celebratory mood and the champagne flowing freely, opportunities to embarrass yourself are plentiful. Here’s how to make your holiday gatherings memorable in a good way.

Don’t Overindulge

Drinking, or indulging in other types of artificial happy-making substances, can lead to the worst kind of notoriety. Stories of drunken debauchery never fade away. 20 years after you retire, people will still tell the story of the time you took a leak in the punch bowl, faxed naked butt picks to your biggest client, or propositioned the owner’s daughter. And the sad thing is, the more uncomfortable you are at social gatherings, the more likely you are to drink too much. Know your limitations. Drink just enough to loosen up, then switch to water for an hour or so. Your body will thank you, and you won’t make the wall of shame.

Avoid Mistletoe

Holiday office hookups might seem fun at the time (especially if you’re hammered), but they rarely end well. If you don’t overindulge, then you’ll probably avoid the mistletoe anyway.

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Be Wary Of The Buffet

Rich holiday foods can wreak havoc on your digestion[1] at the worst possible time. Avoid foods that cause bloating, upset stomach, heartburn, allergic reactions, and especially (heaven forbid) gas or diarrhea. No holiday treat is worth that level of embarrassment.

Dress Appropriately

As tempting as it may be to go from frumpy office worker to dazzling, scantily clad starlet, keep your holiday look smart and businesslike[2],especially if you’re a woman. It’s hard enough to be taken seriously in the corporate world without sabotaging yourself. The same dress rules apply for men, to a certain extent. If you want to move up the corporate ladder, shirtless beefcake is not a good look.

Put Your Best Smile Forward

Nothing exudes confidence more than a straight back, a firm handshake, and a great smile. Your teeth need extra attention during the holiday grazing season, when sinful sticky foods and sweet beverages are everywhere you turn. There are some better choices you can make to maintain that great holiday smile[3]. Less-sweet holiday options include gingerbread instead of cookies, pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie, and oat and nut-based treats. You’ll also want to brush and floss more often, and consider seeing your dentist for a cleaning in January.

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Do Your Homework

While sparkling conversation comes naturally to a tiny percentage of party-goers, most of us have no idea how to be interesting in a group setting. Prepare to be conversational by understanding what people are likely to talk about. Before the party, catch up on current events, know the hot topics on social media, and review the latest blockbuster movies, even if you haven’t seen them. Be ready to lie your face off about having eaten at a fine restaurant, or plans for a wonderful trip. Embellish, without being overly dramatic. Try on some one-liners that are amusing and cavalier, without drifting into long, boring stories. Keep it short, and interject only when appropriate.

Play The Host

One way to circulate and be noticed without having to be overly social is to become the host. Move around the room greeting people with lines like, “Bob, so glad you came! Can I bring you another drink?” or “Sally, you really have to try these crab cakes, they’re delicious.” If social interactions make you feel itchy, you can have your social moment, make a positive impression, and then move on without offending anyone.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Office parties are the great equalizer, the one time of year when C-Suite execs come down from the lofty heights to mingle with the common folk, and your chance to make an impression. The best way to do that is to offer a firm handshake, introduce yourself, and say something intelligent about them. Mention a presentation or speech they gave recently, a book they wrote, or an interview they gave. Show that you follow their career and are deeply interested in the company, but don’t fawn, because nobody respects a fawner.

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Keep It Clean

Even if you’re well-known for your salty language, keep your language work-appropriate for the party. Off-color jokes, sly innuendo, and amusingly inappropriate F-bombs might crack up the guys around the water cooler (or even at the club), but that’s not the impression you want to leave on your supervisor’s wife.

Have Fun!

It’s possible to have fun semi-sober and fully dressed. You can maintain your dignity and be entertained and entertaining all at the same time. Eat, drink, and be merry…just not too much.

References

[1]^  Daily Herald: 6 Steps to Better Digestion This Holiday Season

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[2]^  Business Insider: How to dress for your office holiday party without embarrassing yourself

[3]^  Taunton Village Dental: How To Maintain A Great Holiday Smile

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Reference

[1] http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20161124/entlife/161129490/
[2] http://www.businessinsider.com/what-to-wear-to-my-office-holiday-party-2016-12
[3] http://www.tauntondental.ca/how-to-maintain-a-great-holiday-smile/

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