To ensure that this year’s holiday party is memorable, and not a living nightmare, make good choices. It’s that simple.
“When you exercise poor judgment, you get into trouble,” says Roy Cohen, a New York City coach and the author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide: Success Secrets of a Career Coach” (FT Press 2010). The solution is not to avoid holiday parties. You need to attend, Cohen says, because with your absence you’d send the message that work isn’t important. You’d also miss out on the opportunity to chat, or schmooze, with senior executives whose attention you may not have at other times.
Go. Enjoy. But make good choices.
Take for instance, the choice of guest. If it’s the beginning of a relationship with that person, it might be best to leave them home. Cohen had a client whose new boyfriend flirted intensely, and physically, with the boss’ wife. The boss was furious.
“It was a mess and there were repercussions, including that her promotion got sidelined for another year,” Cohen says.
Here are some other tips to make the best of the next holiday party:
• Don’t go unprepared. Make sure you can make small talk with people. You are not there to talk about work. This is a time to catch up on family, travel, hobbies and the likes. Be prepared to share something about your life to give others a better-rounded picture of who you are.
• Don’t avoid the bosses. Thank them for hosting the party. Take the time to ask about their families. Make a genuine personal connection. Again, avoid talking about work.
• Don’t show too much skin. Women in particular should be cautious about showing too much cleavage or too much leg. Skimpy outfits may generate unnecessary attention and comments, which could tarnish a worker’s otherwise professional reputation. Cohen says this a common and regrettable mistake.
• Don’t flirt with your co-workers. Flirting poses potential risks; it is like playing with matches. Although the results may be off-the-charts great at one moment, they are also likely to backfire. It is always dangerous, so avoid it.
• Don’t stay too long. Cohen says people get messy at the tail end of a party. If you have not drank too much, you’re exposing yourself to people who have. They may say or do something out of line.
© CTW Features
Copyright © CTW Features