Monday, July 19, 2010

What's Naughty...?

To make the most of the office party, experts strongly discourage:

* Drinking to excess. "We all know alcohol lowers your inhibitions," says Randall Hansen, founder and president of Quintessential careers. "And if you imbibe too much you might find yourself telling off the boss or pulling a co-worker under the mistletoe." (Nikkij drinks her boss under the table… his desk)

* Pulling anyone under the mistletoe. Flirting, or worse, sneaking off for a tryst, guarantees that you'll be part of the office gossip mill at least until the summer office picnic. (Pull me, Pull me)
* Fashion experimentation. Keep the low-cut, leopard-skin dress at home. "Remember that the office party is still business, so it not the time to bring your wild side out," according to business etiquette expert Hilka Klinkenberg. In general, if your outfit would be out of place on casual Friday, it probably wouldn't be appropriate at the party. (not me .. the sluttier the better I say)

* Gifting. Unless you bring (appropriate) gifts for everyone, some co-workers are bound to feel left out. (Does the Nikkij surprise count?)

* Bringing guests. If the invitation isn't specific on who's invited -- including spouses, significant others, children, and pets -- either don't bring them, or check it out with the event planner. (The More the merrier I say)

What's Nice
If navigating the holiday party minefield is daunting, go anyway, experts say. "It will show you're a part of the team, and if you're absent it will be noticed," Klinkenberg says.
To make the most out of the event, use it to network. For the rules of the holiday schmooze, etiquette experts suggest:

* Mix and mingle. "You want to show you're good with people and confident in social situations, which is especially important if your job involves a lot of human interaction," according to Cynthia Lett, owner of the Lett Group. "This may be the one time when higher-ups in the company see your social skills, and a positive performance may give them enough ammo to recommend you when the promotion comes up." (Nikkij loves human interaction)

* Keep it light. "It's OK to talk about your team's accomplishments, but don't bore everyone by bragging about your own," says Andrea R. Nierenberg, networking expert and president of the Nierenberg Group. Likewise, don't monopolize anyone's time with a complex dissertation of corporate strategy. Nierenberg suggests having a list of "small talk" topics in mind, or going to a company's website press page to find lighter, business-relevant conversation starters. (Cut to the Chase ... let’s F*ck Nikkij)

* Have an exit strategy. Knowing when to politely excuse yourself from a conversation and when to leave the party are two critical party-going skills. "You should instinctively know when it's right to move on to the next person, but when in doubt spend no more than seven minutes talking to someone," Nierenberg says. As for the amount of face time to spend, you don't have to stay the whole time, but a quick exit will be noticed. Conversely, don't stay until the bitter end; it may give the impression you're more party animal than professional. (Your place or mine?)

* Be courteous. It's always a good idea to thank your party planner, and, especially if it's at a private residence, the host. (Yes, may I borrow your husband for 15 minutes … please?)

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