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| Posted by Robin Barrett Wilson

5 Tips for Surviving Your Company Holiday Party

Holiday Survival Guide

 Ah! The holidays! Family, friends, great food and that company holiday party.  According to  global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc 80% of companies plan to throw a holiday party this year.

My question, do most of us love these events? A recent survey by Randstad showed, the majority of employees (can you believe 90%) would rather be given a bonus or extra vacation days instead of attending this traditional event.

This got me thinking, how can those of us who get some major anxiety about these events, tackle the evening with ease. 

Look for opportunity to connect

Be sure you RSVP (and don’t be late).  Whether you work in a small start-up or a large corporation there is someone you don’t know.  Introduce yourself to three new people and get to know them (as well as you can at a work party). 

I have shared these tips in the past and they continue to work.  Think about 3 questions you would like to ask someone you have never met before.  This is a terrific way to get someone talking about themselves and will take the pressure off.  Here are a few that always work for me: 

  • What do you do for the company? (By the way, you may want to be sure you know who the CEO is…he/she might not like that question)
  • How long have you worked here? This is a great question if you are new and looking for that “go-to person” to help with all sorts of questions you might have. 
  • Where did you go on vacation this past year? This is one of my favorites.  You get to hear what that person likes to do in their free time and it gives you a bit of insight into who they are.
  Hands Free

    tips for surviving your holiday party at work

    My advice, keep one hand on your beverage and one hand free.  This gives you the opportunity to shake hands, give a hug to your favorite co-worker or take a selfie with someone from your work “family”.  This isn’t the time to be looking at email or texts.  Be present, find your boss and say thank you for the invitation, engage in conversations with other teams (you would be surprised what you can find out at these shindigs) and be sure to keep the holiday cheer (you know, the alcohol) to a minimum. 

    Share something positive:

    We all love to hear positive feedback.  The holiday party is no exception. Be sure to let your colleagues know your favorite appetizer of the night, that they look rested, you loved their latest presentation, their latest picture of their dog in that ugly x-mas sweater made your day, etc. Spread the cheer!  It doesn’t cost a thing and everyone will remember your positive attitude.

    One for them, None for you

    drinks at the holiday party

    Full of cheer!  That is what holiday parties are all about until someone has just one too many.  Remember, everyone is watching! This is a great time to sip the bubbly, (I mean seltzer) add a bit of cranberry and a lime and no-one is the wiser. You will look festive and you won’t wake up the next morning thinking “what did I say to my boss?”. 

    Yes Santa, there is a dress code

    robin b essentials

    Just go with what you wore to work that day!  Simple. Switch out the jewelry and a colorful pump and you are ready to go. Remember: No leggings, no glitter and nothing plunging or see-through. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have and that includes attending the corporate holiday party.

    Finally, be sure you find your boss and thank them for a great year.  Show your appreciation and wish them a great holiday.  Karma…it is real!

    Looking for more tips about the holidays?  Watch our latest video on Holiday Styling Tips.


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    Developed in part with the help of Venture Focused Consulting