Christmas party season has arrived and it’s a good opportunity to let your hair down with your colleagues. While it’s supposed to be fun, it’s worth thinking about how it could affect your career, so be sure to make the right impression.
Before you even get to the party you need to choose the right outfit. This means something that says fun, but not unprofessional, so keep an eye on hemlines and low-cut tops or trousers that are just too tight for the fellas. Then, make sure that your outfit is properly steamed so you don’t ruin the effect with creases.
Think about your drinks
Everyone has a different tolerance to alcohol, so be aware of what yours is. There’s nothing wrong with drinking at the office party, but you don’t want to get into a state. Have a plan in place for getting away from Julie in accounts who is always there to top up your glass. Alternating between alcoholic and soft drinks is always a pretty good bet.
There are a few good reasons to eat before the party begins. The first is, of course, so you don’t get too drunk, but secondly, you don’t want to seem too eager to get to the buffet. Scoffing all the battered prawns before the boss gets to them won’t make you popular.
Switch off your phone
OK, you don’t have to switch it off altogether, but at least turn your phone to silent and resist the urge to look at it. A quick glance will show you notifications on everything from Instagram to emails and it’s only natural to be intrigued. Before you know it, you’ve spent half the night on the internet and no time learning more about your colleagues.
Avoid the clique
You may have a group of workmates that you go out for drinks with every week, but that’s exactly why you shouldn’t flock to them at the Christmas party. Make the effort to speak to other colleagues that you don’t see all the time and be open and inclusive to make them feel at ease. This will show good teamwork and management skills that you may want to display to your boss.
Stay away from the Brexit chat
Brexit’s everywhere, but nobody wants to talk about it on a staff night out… apart from maybe Nigel in HR. Don’t be drawn into controversial subjects like Brexit as you never know what other people might think. It could be the end of that promotion you didn’t even know you were up for.
Ask questions you want to know the answers to
Yes, it’s polite to ask your colleagues about themselves, but don’t simply pose questions for the sake of it. Think about how they might open up a conversation and the things you genuinely don’t know about them. And try not to make it all work-related, as that stuff can stay in the office.
Talk to the management team
Avoiding the people at the top because you don’t know what to say isn’t a good strategy. Don’t jump in asking for a pay rise or to discuss a big project; just be friendly and keep it casual. They’ll most likely be footing the bill and will be pleased not to be left standing on their own.
Get the drinks in at the bar
Even if all the drinks are included, make sure you ask around to see who wants one when you go to the bar. It’s a polite thing to do and even if you’re not buying your colleague a drink, they’ll still appreciate that you got them one.