Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue

Crucial Applications: Holiday Office Party 101

According to our recent poll, nearly one in ten people know someone who made their boss’s naughty list and was fired for inappropriate behavior at an office party.

The poll also revealed the most frequent concerns employees have concerning office parties:
1. How long to stay
2. Socializing with upper management
3. The level of drinking among coworkers
4. How friendly to be with colleagues
5. How to dress

The key word in the expression “office party” is office, not party. You can party almost anywhere you want, but when colleagues, bosses and possibly even clients are around, that is no ordinary party and you’ll need to act accordingly.

Here are five tips for surviving your holiday office party:
1. Linger longer—If you can only come for a moment or two, you’d better have a plausible explanation as to where you’re going after—and it can’t be a more popular or fun-sounding party. When it comes to leaving, take your cue from the majority. Leave when most people are leaving.
2. Make small talk with the big guys—Socializing with upper management is like eating caviar, a small amount should go a long way. When you do chat, keep the topic light and party-relevant. Don’t seek recognition or brag. If anything, be the bearer of compliments.
3. Stay sober—Drink what you want in the privacy of your home. But at work, do not lose control. Ever. No matter what others are doing. If you say things to coworkers that you wouldn’t say when completely sober, you could pay the consequences for years to come.
4. Keep it casual with coworkers—Obviously, you’re expected to be more friendly, jovial, and personal within a party environment. However, if you’ve been interested in striking up a more friendly and intimate relationship with a special colleague at work, the office party is not the place to take your first shot.
5. Dress to impress—Ask around and find out what others are wearing. The invitation may suggest the attire, but you never know how the suggestion will be translated, so check with your coworkers. Then, dress slightly above the average.

You can learn more insights and skills like this in Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue

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