We’ve all seen it…
That one co-worker who drank just a bit too much at the holiday office party four years ago — now they’re forever remembered as the one who fell over three chairs while dancing to "Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree" like Elaine from "Seinfeld."
No one wants to be that coworker. No. One. So let's talk about what to do and what not to do to make your office holiday party less awkward and more enjoyable. (But not dancing like Elaine fun — that’s just too much.)
1. Avoid controversial issues (i.e. politics)
At all costs, just avoid conversations about politics. Political discussion leads to heated debates and holiday office parties are not for serious discussion. So if someone asks, “What do you think about Donald Trump’s stance on greenhouse gas emissions?” turn it around by asking something like, “Did you see that there is a new wolf pack in Okanogan County?” or at least something that is more lighthearted than global warming.
2. Do ask questions about other people
People enjoy talking about themselves, so make sure to ask open-ended questions (not “yes” or “no” questions) about them; “How are your kids doing? What are you doing for the holidays?” etc. Showing interest in your co-workers will help you build stronger relationships during work hours.
3. Don’t abuse the open bar
Just because your company has an open bar, doesn’t mean that is a reason to get plastered. Find a balance — being relaxed is great, but being a sloppy, holiday mess is not. Remember, your company is rewarding you for being a good employee, so don’t force them to change their mind. You want a job to return to on Monday.
4. Stay longer than 20 minutes
If you plan on going to your office holiday party, plan on staying for more than 20 minutes. Staying at your holiday party is a great place to meet other colleagues you may have not had the chance to meet yet, build relationships with higher ups (like winning over the CEO with a funny story about your dog) or even making some new friends. Also, staying and socializing is a compliment to the host — someone put this holiday party together, so thank them for their time and effort.
If you have to leave early due to prior engagements, let the host/boss know ahead of time.
5. Don’t have an agenda
Attending a Christmas party with a hidden agenda only makes you a grinch. Don’t show up intending to discuss ideas that are meant for a meeting. Leave the work talk at your desk.
6. Stay away from the gossip
When people gather, people talk — but do yourself a favor and stay out of it. To associate yourself with the group that gossips is not what leaders do in the office. So if you want to move up the totem pole, associate yourself with other future leaders and discuss topics of relevance.