The holiday season means family, food and the holiday office party. Here are some tips from etiquette expert Mary Thacker on how to navigate the party with good manners:
What is the number one mistake people make at office/organization holiday parties?
Mary Thacker: The number one mistake that is made at an office party is FORGETTING it is an office party and not a night out on the town. Just remember to conduct yourself in a manner that won't embarrass you or your company the next day. It is fine to relax and have a good time, but you are still a co-worker and that means representing yourself and the company well by not saying or doing anything inappropriate. You don't want your behavior to be the topic of conversation at the office.
Do you seek out the boss at holiday mixers? And if so..what do you say and what don't you say?
MT: Absolutely. If the boss is the host, of course you are going to greet him or her when you arrive and thank them for having you when you leave. It is always a good idea to spend a few minutes talking to your host or hostess to let them know you are appreciative of their efforts to bring everyone together in celebration no matter what the occasion. This is not the appropriate time to bring up office problems or complaints, employee discussions, or office politics. Even the boss needs some off time to relax and enjoy his co-workers.
What do you do if you can't remember someone's name and you need to introduce them to your date?
MT: It is always a good idea to review the key players names before you leave for the party to keep them fresh on your mind but if you do forget someone's name and you want to make an introduction, simply greet the person whose name you have forgotten and say, "I would like for you to meet my date this evening." Your date will extend their hand to shake, say "hello, I am Date" and the person whose name you have forgotten will, hopefully say, "Hello, I am Forgotten Name." If that does not work, you have to be honest and say, "Please forgive me, I know your name, but I just can't recall it at the moment and I want you to meet my date."
What do you do if you can't get away from someone at the holiday party? (even if it's your boss?)
MT: If you have been engaged with someone for a prolonged amount of time and you need to make an exit the best thing to do is to invite someone else into the conversation so you don't leave your conversation companion standing alone, especially if it is your boss. Either take them to another person or invite someone over to you and help them start a conversation together. Once they are conversing with each other, simply excuse yourself. Don't ever tell someone, "I will be right back" if you don't intend on returning.
What do you do if the party is getting too friendly for you and you are approached with the "cheek kiss?"
MT: If you are not comfortable, simply smile, extend your hand and take a small step back. This allows for your personal space without making the other person uncomfortable.