With the holiday season upon us, you will likely be invited to at least one corporate holiday function. These get togethers can be great networking opportunities, providing you a comfortable environment to meet with executives and team members. When attending these events, you want to be sure you are putting your best foot forward, and are avoiding saying or doing anything that could come off as unprofessional.
Here are a few tips to make the most of these events while avoiding potential pitfalls:
Do Not Drink Too Much!
Many events will have alcohol, and while it is totally acceptable to have a drink, stick to one or two drinks maximum. If you do not want to drink, a good trick is to simply ask for a Sprite or soda water with lemon. Always drink a glass of water after each drink to give yourself some time to digest your last drink and spread out your consumption over a longer period. Another good tip: Avoid beverages served in martini glasses – they tend to slosh around, and you do not want to accidentally spill on someone you are networking with. Also, beware of red wine if you know you are accident prone.
Be Aware of Attendees
If you know some high level executives will be attending the party, do some research – try to get an idea of what they look like and learn a little about them. You will be able to keep an eye out for them and be able to make sure that you make a good impression should you end up in a conversation with them.
Most cocktail parties will be business casual to cocktail attire. Take care to avoid major clothing faux pas: DO NOT wear a T-shirt, jeans or revealing clothing. Assume business casual is a nice dress shirt and slacks for men, and a nice work dress or pants/skirt and dress shirt for women.
Your Date Is a Reflection of You
Make sure if you bring a date to an event that they too follow the above rules. You do not want a date to embarrass you by drinking too much or acting in a less than professional manner.
Some young professionals forget that these events are meant to be an opportunity to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level. Do not focus only on business. Although it is normal for work to come up in conversation, remember, this is a social event. Be mindful to not overshare as that can be uncomfortable as well. Keep your conversations light and relaxed, have fun getting to know your co-workers and leadership teams.
Happy Holidays! I hope you find these tips useful at your next holiday party or work function.