The Holiday Professional -- Office Party Etiquette

Created On: 21 December, 2016 Created By: Amber Travis-Ballinas, Career Coach at Career Creators

In today’s competitive job market, knowing how to behave professionally will significantly affect your career advancement opportunities. Conversely, behaving inappropriately in a professional environment can potentially devastate your image, reputation and career progression.

Many people do not realize that the holiday office party is not the same type of event as a social gathering with friends and family. There are different rules of engagement for the office party, and what is considered to be acceptable in one environment is not considered acceptable in the other.

This is not the appropriate venue to ‘get crazy’, ‘throw down’, or ‘act a fool’. Rather, consider the office party an extension of your regular workday and behave accordingly. Your professional image depends on it.


Common Sense Guidelines for Office Party Etiquette:


Mind your manners. Following common rules of etiquette allows others to feel comfortable around you and sets you apart from your colleagues.

§  RSVP Early / Express Gratitude for being invited

§  Verify that the Invite includes an invitation for a Spouse or Guest

§  Offer to bring something, to help prepare for the event, or to clean up afterwards.

§  Be sure to greet and thank the host when you arrive and before you leave.         


Plan your Outfit Accordingly. Choosing the appropriate attire for attending career-related holiday events conveys a message about your sense of judgment. This is an opportunity to establish your professional image and reputation and to create a positive impression amongst your colleagues.

o   Avoid having discussions about anything controversial like politics, religion, or sex.

o   Keep your personal opinions vague and somewhat neutral.

o   Do not debate or argue!

o   No cursing!


Stay in control of yourself. The most common mistake is consuming too much alcohol and getting out of control. Know your alcohol tolerance level. Give yourself a limit and stick with it.

o   Do not drink too much alcohol! Preferably, do not drink alcohol at all. If you do, hold yourself to a 2-drink limit.  

o   Do not flirt with, kiss, or hang on your boss, coworkers, or vendors!

o   Keep public displays of affection with your significant other appropriate / rated “G”.

o   Do not ‘get nasty’ on the dance floor.


By following these common sense rules of behavior & etiquette during all holiday office parties you will create a positive impression with your employer and colleagues and enhance your probability of career advancement.

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