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Tis the season for holiday party invitations!

Holiday party invitations are most likely flying into your inbox faster than Santa on his sleigh. And somewhere in the mix of invites is one for the company holiday party. This gathering is meant to celebrate the season and a year of hard work, but can be intimidating even for the most outgoing employee. Sure, there’s plenty of networking opportunities, but the very thought of mingling with all those people triggers flashbacks of humiliating karaoke and being stuck talking to ‘Karen from accounting’ for nearly an hour. (No, we don’t need to hear any more about the challenges of implementing the latest accounting pronouncement!)

So, just how do you steer through the cocktail-induced waters of the company holiday party?

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for celebrating with your coworkers this holiday season:

1) Do Show Up
Whether you’ve just started with the company or have been there for years, you should always try to attend the company holiday party. This is a great chance to build relationships with your coworkers. Also, if you’re hoping to make a move within the organization in the upcoming year, the company holiday party is the perfect opportunity for you to introduce yourself to the team that you’re hoping to join!

2) Don’t Ignore the Dress Code
Make sure you “know the event.” Think carefully about what you are going to wear. If you stick out like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, you’re not going to be comfortable and you will look like you didn’t get the memo. Just remember — this is a business event and not a second-chance prom night.

3) Do Engage Everyone…Even People You Don’t Know
Company holiday parties are typically not just for employees — you’ll likely be meeting quite a few new faces such as spouses and friends. Even if you never see these people again, it’s important to make them feel welcome because chances are they might not know anyone else at the gathering.

4) Don’t Be Distracted by Technology
Refrain from texting, emailing, tweeting, etc. while talking to people. Otherwise you’ll miss out on opportunities to learn more about your colleagues and, more importantly, your behavior may be viewed as rude or inconsiderate.

5) Do Stick to a Two-Drink Maximum
If you have too many of those free-flowing cocktails, you’ll probably regret it later. Yes, while this is a party, remember it is still a business event … so behave accordingly!

Have fun at your company holiday party…but within reason. Make sure what your coworkers are talking about in the New Year is the event, and not you.

(written by: wc)

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