Office Holiday Party Mistakes To AvoidBeyond the usual office party advice, like not embarrassing yourself by drinking too much, dressing too provocatively or hooking up with a co-worker, here’s an updated list of things to consider for the 2013 office party season.

1) Avoid embarrassing or unprofessional poses.  Yes…that’s an old one that conjures up images of butts on Xerox machines. But this warning is a timely reminder since social media blows away the company copier with its ability to swiftly and indelibly share images of you that don’t serve you well.

2) Avoid discussing politics.  Not long ago, religion and politics were taboo topics in any social situation, yet this oldie-but-goodie deserves an encore.  Political discussions can get ugly fast, and when you add alcohol to the mix, you risk a movie-blockbuster-style explosion that could reverberate back in the office for an undefinable amount of time. Even if you’re with someone in your own party, you’re better to stay away from the topic.  A recent study reveals that there are many nuances within each party that could spark heated debate.

3) Watch the trash talk.  Don’t trash the competition.  The business world has become so interconnected, with people hopping from company to company. You just never know who’s about to jump across the street.  Don’t trash people who aren’t there or who are out of earshot.  No complaining about the boss, work or co-workers.  You never know who’s listening.

4) Stay appropriate.  Avoid dirty jokes, hair color jokes, ethnic jokes, racial slurs, stereotyping or overgeneralizing.  Don’t be the one to set your company’s workplace diversity efforts back 20 years.

5) Learn how to change the subject or exit gracefully.  You may have read this article.  Great!  You’re on top of things.  For those who haven’t, help them avoid the first four pitfalls.  Don’t hog the attention of someone who needs to or wants to circulate.  Ending a conversation easily doesn’t always come naturally.  Need help?  Search the Internet for “how to end a conversation” for face-saving tips.

You can still have a great time at the party, but it’s important that you let your hair down without killing your chances for promotion, future consensus building or just plain workplace satisfaction once you’re back in the office.

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