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Thursday, December 18, 2014

6 Tips to Mingle (and Jingle) Your Way Through Your Office Holiday Party

It’s here! 
The last weekend before the holidays. And the last opportunity for your office to throw a party or maybe for your boss to invite your department out for drinks. 
Excited? Apprehensive? Feeling like bailing? Whatever you may be feeling about holiday celebrations in your office, here are 6 tips to help you make it through the activities before you head off to your loved ones’ holiday festivities:

 1.  Don’t go on an empty stomach.

Your employer may spring for hors d'oeuvres or even shell out for a lavish meal, but it’s still a good idea to have a bite (or two) before you arrive. Wine can sneak up on the best of us, and managing being intoxicated with managing showing your boss your social side can backfire before you realize having that third glass of cabernet sauvignon was a faux pas.

Besides, you’re there to mingle, and mingling with food isn’t always a pretty sight.

2.   Reach out to coworkers you don’t know well or don’t know at all.
You may go through your typical day at work and have direct contact with 3-5 people. You may email that guy in Accounting on a weekly basis, but not know that he teaches accounting classes online after work. You may see that one woman who always wear that one blazer every Tuesday, but have no clue what her name is or which department she works in. Why not use your office holiday gathering to reach out to people outside the small circle of those you know? Rapport among coworkers makes for a happier, more productive workplace.
Who knows? That woman in that blazer may be on the other side of that desk when you’re interviewing for a promotion.

3. Recognize diversity.
It’s important that no one feels excluded or overlooked. While it may seem like a good idea to plan a party or activity that specifically represents every affiliation, it’s a better idea to go for neutrality.The holiday season and the end of a productive year for a business are reasons for everyone to celebrate; make it comfortable for everyone to do so.
Focus on what you share with coworkers with religious and cultural affiliations that are different than yours. What is something you all share? Maybe it's a laugh about ugly holiday sweaters. 

 4. Be sensitive to diverse dietary needs.
While many in your office may want to hold a holiday gathering at a fancy steakhouse, think about the lack of options such a place may offer to vegetarians or vegans. “They can just have a salad” isn’t exactly the most welcoming mindset; we all enjoy having several options to choose from when we dine out. Work with restaurants, event halls or catering companies to design a menu that makes everyone in the office feel included and appreciated in your office celebrations.
You could possibly find a new dish you like and make a new friend.

5. Avoid business talk. Enjoy the gathering. 
You may be interested in hearing client feedback on the project you submitted earlier in the week or confirming the date of your holiday bonus, but don’t corner your boss or anyone from HR about them. Attending an office holiday gathering with the agenda of getting such information can be perceived as rude or tacky. Instead, take the time to talk to your boss and coworkers about their interests outside of the office and enjoy seeing them in an entirely new light.
That light might include a disco ball over a dance floor.

6. When it’s time for you to leave, be sure to say goodbye.
 You’ve managed your wine intake, you’ve met new people, you’ve helped to make it comfortable for everyone to enjoy the party and have options to eat and you’ve possibly seen your boss dance under a disco ball. Unless you’re hitting the after party with your coworkers, it’s time to say goodbye. Shake hands, give hugs and thank your boss and those who helped organize the gathering. It’s the polite thing to do and will surely be warmly received.

Happy holidays from all of us here at RME360! 

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360