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6 career-limiting moves to avoid at holiday parties


Whether it’s your own or a friend’s, we’ve all heard the horror stories that often result when the company sponsored holiday party goes wrong: drunk people dancing on tabletops or, worse, with the boss’s spouse.{{more}} Promising professionals sometimes see promotions and opportunities to raise their profile evaporate when they ignore the unwritten rules of the company holiday party. It’s really not a party, so pay attention!

1. Watch what you wear. A little holiday flair is fine, but adhere to the specified dress code. This is not the time to show off your assets in your best outfit, so remain conservative and look businesslike.

2. Maintain your professional decorum at all times. Even though you are at a holiday party, leave the “weekend personality” at home. ‘Tis not the time to be jolly. Release your inner party animal at your own private party.

3. Represent your brand well. Not having enough business cards or rambling on when asked what you do is a major turn-off. Always carry lots of cards and practise your 30-second commercial. You should be able to articulate who you are and what you do in 30 seconds or less. Keep it short.

4. Quit the complaining. Do not talk about your problems with your boss, your job or that you will not be getting that holiday bonus at the office. Bring a great attitude and enjoy yourself instead.

5. Limit alcohol consumption. An open bar does not mean you need to try all the exotic drinks or load up on free beer. Even though it’s a holiday party, be wise when consuming alcohol. Alcohol can cause many to lose their inhibitions and that can potentially be career derailing, especially when senior leadership is present. Pace yourself, even if your company culture encourages heavy drinking.

6. Avoid controversial topics. Avoid religion and politics. Talk about career goals, sports, business news, etc. Have some knowledge of current, local and world events.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE

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