By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
Office parties can make or break careers! While organizations use these parties to bring together coworkers for morale-boosting and team-building, certain rules still apply.
- Its business: Although the word “party” may lull you into believing that it’s a social event, the word “office” should remind you that it’s strictly business. Don’t let your hair down; instead behave as if you are being observed for a future leadership role with the firm.
- Invitation: Read carefully, checking if spouses are invited and R.S.V.P accordingly. Brief your spouse about your company, the leadership and the corporate culture. Children should be taken only if “family” is mentioned on the invite. Take a gift (a bottle of wine, chocolates or flowers) if it’s hosted at a senior’s residence.
- What to wear? Understated, expensive and classic – a look that works, regardless of your industry. Unless it’s a theme party, keep your nightclub wear (clothes that are clingy, revealing or flashy) for social outings.
- Does attendance count? : As these parties are a part of your job, you have to attend! As the top brass will surely attend, your absence will be noted & commented upon by your seniors.
- How long should I stay? No matter how action-packed your social calendar, do spend at least an hour. On the other hand, don’t overstay till the early hours of the morning! I recommend arriving early, as it offers an excellent chance to mingle, in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Behave professionally: Office parties are not platforms for blowing off steam, bragging or airing your grudges against the organization. Avoid flirting, gossiping or cracking off-color jokes. Instead, use them as a platform to complement your team mates and thank the organizers and the senior management.
- Network: View this as a great opportunity to mingle with people who can influence your career in the firm – members of the board / CEO/ top teams / employees from other offices & departments. Find out in advance the persons who will be attending and make a mental note of the ones you wish to interact with at the party.
- Staying sober is a must: Business and alcohol don’t mix! Excessive drinking compromises your reputation in the firm and makes you a butt of jokes. Years later, we can still recall the name of the ex-colleague who got drunk and had to be escorted home! Eat in moderation and stay away from salty / fried foods, which make you thirsty and force you to drink more. If possible, pace your alcohol intake by slowly sipping tall drinks (the ones with plenty of soda/ water / ice).
Leave the party gracefully, thanking your host and your boss. Next morning, honor all the verbal commitments you made and finish off with a thank you note to the host.