Northwestern Press

Monday, December 17, 2018

Respectfully Yours: Party for success

Thursday, December 7, 2017 by Jacquelyn Youst Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn, My holiday office party is coming up in a couple weeks. What can I do to maximize my time and use the event to help my career?

Dear Reader, A company holiday party is an excellent opportunity to network and build relationships. This is a good time to speak with executives you may not otherwise have a chance to talk to. Approach them with a smile, introduce yourself, keep the conversation upbeat and positive. Take this opportunity to mingle with people outside your department. Speak to everyone in a positive, friendly tone, but don’t forget that this is not the place to say something negative that could get you into trouble later.

Dressing for success isn’t limited to the workday. Put considerable thought into your attire. You should wear clothing you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear to work. You can kick it up a notch, but your attire needs to be suitable for a business event, not a nightclub.

Be sure to detach from your smart phone. Don’t spend your time tweeting or texting. If your face is buried in your cell phone you will come across as rude and uninterested. Watch your body language. Appearing bored is just as bad as not showing up. Don’t slouch, cross arms, or yawn. You never know who might be observing you. Plan to eat a snack prior to arriving at the party. Making a beeline toward the buffet table sends the wrong message. You are not invited to the party because someone thinks you needed to be fed. You were invited because the employer wants to thank you for your hard work and believes you will positively contribute to the event.

When alcohol is served the holiday office party, a good idea is to consider something that appears festive but is not alcoholic, such as cranberry juice. If you are holding a glass, be sure it is in your left hand. The right hand should remain free for handshakes. Do not plan on drinking it up and letting your guard down. This could lead you down a road your career won’t recover from. Be remembered in a positive way, you are a first class professional. On the way out the door, don’t forget to thank the host. Parties require quite a bit of planning and the organizer will appreciate your kind gesture. If the host is a supervisor, you’ll stand out as someone who is gracious and has excellent manners. Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of Jacquelyn Youst Etiquette Consulting, specializing in protocol training. She works with the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2017Jacquelyn Youst