The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Party Etiquette

Good or bad, you don't want to become the office legend because you overdid it at the holiday party.

Your behavior at a work event can cost you a whole lot more than a red face, and like it or not it will impact your future growth within the company.

Stay on top of your game by following these top tips to help you survive your holiday party without making a fool of yourself:

Dress To Impress

Just because you're heading off to a 'party' it doesn't mean that there isn't a need to keep your professional demeanor. What you wear and how you present yourself when attending a corporate event is paramount. You want to look sophisticated not seductive so skip the low cut fronts and high hemlines and opt for something a little more demure. To save yourself from a wardrobe malfunction check out our 9 simple rules on 'What to Wear to Your Company Holiday Party.'

Company Holiday Party Etiquette Dress To Impress

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Have a Snack Before the Party

As a rule of thumb, always eat a little before heading off to any party. By filling that void in your stomach before the event, you won't have to worry about going hungry if the food is delayed. Drinking on an empty stomach is also never a good idea as the alcohol will enter your bloodstream much faster and you'll be intoxicated before you even know it! Which leads me to my next point...

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Have a Snack Before the Party

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Stay Sober

The biggest no-no when it comes to your company holiday party is getting drunk. It may be called a 'party' but in reality this is a corporate event that requires you to be professional and composed at all times. The best way to avoid making an ass of yourself is to limit your alcohol intake to a maximum of two drinks. Another great idea is to order something you're not crazy about, in which case you'll nurse it all night rather than guzzle one after another.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Stay Sober

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Don't Stuff Your Face

You're not there for the food, you're there for business so don't spend all night drooling over the hors d'oeuvres and stuffing your face with anything you can get your hands on, (however hungry you are!) as it's just not attractive. Be considerate of others by keeping your hands clean and avoiding speaking with your mouth full.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Don't Stuff Your Face

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Mingle

Don't stand in the corner all night texting friends and don't just engage with the people you sit next to all day at the office. Be a team player and mingle with as many people as possible at the event. Try to keep conversations short and sweet, as this way you'll be able to cover more ground. If you're the kind of person that finds it hard to start conversations then prep a few topics ahead of time such as children, movies or even the holidays.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Mingle

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Don't Talk About Work

It might be a business event, but this is not the time to discuss the latest project you're working on or plan a client meeting for the following week. This is a time for people to celebrate the year's success and that means a cheerful mood. Never get caught complaining about your job as a stray comment can easily get taken out of context and become the latest rumor in the mill.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Don't Talk About Work

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Be Generous With Your Compliments

Compliments make people feel good about themselves, and they are even more appreciated when you're not wanting anything in return. Chances are you will have the opportunity to network with managers, partners and executives that you would never normally get to interactive with, so win them over by complimenting them on how content you are with the company and how valued you feel as an employee. You never know what a difference your positive and generous attitude may make.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Be Generous With Your Compliments

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Act Like Your Having a Good Time

Even if you're not having a good time, act like you are. Your body language gives a lot away and you don't want to come across as bored and uninterested, especially when talking to the boss. Show genuine interest to those who have taken the time to talk to you by responding with related comments and questions that keep the conversation flowing. Laugh, smile and try to make the most of the event, who knows, you might actually have fun!

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Act Like Your Having a Good Time

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Never Try Sneaking Out

Although these types of social situations may make you uncomfortable, it's important to avoid the urge to sneak out of the back door and head home early. You can be sure that your early exit won't go unnoticed. Having gone to the effort and expense of throwing a party, your workplace will be expecting you to attend for the entirety of the event. If you really do need to leave before the end make sure that you have a valid reason for doing so and that you let people know that you are leaving - never just slip out unannounced.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Never Try Sneaking Out

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Don't Forget to Say Thanks

If you want to make a good impression with the powers that be, it's really important for you to make a point of saying thanks. It's polite to say it before leaving the party, but it really makes an impact if you go out of your way to send a little card, note, or email to the organizer to say how much fun you had. It takes a lot of time and effort to organize events, and your thanks will be truly appreciated. Apart from anything else, a polite thank you will almost always excuse you from any behavior which may have raised a few eyebrows during the night, whether it's your extreme dancing or your slightly drunken slur.

Company Holiday Party Etiquette: Don't Forget to Say Thanks

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Your Turn...

What tips do you have to help survive the company holiday party? Share with us in the comments below...