It is nearly Christmas and most companies have organised a Christmas party for their employees and workers. This event poses several pitfalls that the savvy business woman has to avoid.
It is not unheard of managers having too much alcohol and dancing drunk on tables, peers letting their hair down and severely compromising their career because of their conduct during the party.
Remember, this is a business event and it should be treated as such!
Here is a list of the pitfalls to avoid and how to navigate them in style:
- Clothing: this is a business event therefore avoid baring too much skin. No to strapless dresses, plunging necklines and super short skirts. Wear a classic cocktail dress and a classy pair of party shoes (it is OK to wear strappy sandals as long as you can walk and dance in them). A pair of earrings and a sparkly bracelet complete the look. Err on the conservative side: always remember that this is a business event and not a night out with your best friends.
- When to arrive and when to leave: it is advisable to arrive at the party after it has already started (at least 20 minutes after its official start). Stay at the party for at least one hour and take part to the activities like dancing and karaoke (but not drinking!). You want to be perceived as a team player and at the same time you want to protect your personal brand by not engaging in conduct that you may regret the following day.
- Alcohol intake: women are judged more harshly than men, sad but true. Limit your alcohol intake to one glass of wine. Getting drunk during the Christmas party will compromise your personal brand and you would not be perceived as senior management material anymore. Being seen hammered by your team, colleagues and most of all by your bosses is not a good idea. Act smart: keep sober and keep in control. You do not want to have your pictures taken whilst drunk and having them tagged on your colleagues’ Facebook pages.
- Harassment: unfortunately in some instances male colleagues may act in an inappropriate way. If you are being harassed (and that means receive some unwanted attention that makes you feel uncomfortable) react in a measured and firm way: tell the person that you are not comfortable with his behaviour and ask the person to leave you alone. Move to an area where there are plenty of other people and make sure you are not being followed. Catch a taxi home if required. The following day report the incident to your boss and to the human resources department. Don’t be scared to be perceived as a” trouble maker”: sexual harassment is a serious matter and has to be treated as such.
Enjoy the party and act smart: it takes time to build a positive personal brand and just a few minutes to ruin it. You do not want to be the one who regrets your action during the festive season.