A company’s brand is its identity, wrapped up and presented in a way that’s pleasing, familiar and attractive. Most people understand how important branding is when it comes to business, but often fail to recognize the value in building a great personal brand.
Your personal brand is a direct reflection of you and what you stand for. It encompasses everything that people think and say about you. It sums up everyone’s experiences with you – the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a big deal. Unfortunately, one misstep can set you way back, so be especially careful during the holiday season.
“Did you see him dancing on the coffee table at the office party last night?”
“Can you believe she wore that?”
“Did you hear the things he was saying about our boss?”
This water cooler gossip happens all too often after someone lets a little too loose at the beloved office holiday party. While company parties can be a fun way to sit back, relax and celebrate with coworkers, it’s also a time when employees can get too casual. It's easy to forget that, even though it’s a party that usually includes an open bar, it’s still a work function and you should be on your best behavior.
So if the above comments sound familiar (yet hopefully not said about you), here are a few tips to help you to have a good time without the embarassment the next day.
Attend the shindig
While most office parties aren’t mandatory, your attendance conveys a commitment to the company – something your boss will notice. You also get a chance to mingle with the higher-ups, capitalize on a networking opportunity and probably enjoy some free food, too!
And, while I’m not aware of anyone who lost a job or ruined his or her career due to not attending the office holiday party, your absence could be misconstrued as not being a team player. So even if you have negative feelings toward the company (or about a few of your coworkers), show up for at least a little bit. Keep in mind that being a no-show won’t hurt them. It’s more likely to draw negative attention to yourself.
If you absolutely can’t attend due to a genuine personal or family commitment, though, let your boss know as soon as possible. Talk to him or her in person, apologize and send an email a few days prior as a reminder.
Limit your cocktails
You probably already know that too much spiked eggnog may lead to embarassing behavior. But even moderate amounts of alcohol can make it more difficult to read social cues and facial expressions. So if you do happen to drink too much, call someone to pick you up and excuse yourself early. That way you avoid doing or saying anything you might regret. Like missing the trash can and throwing up on your boss’ suit jacket.
If it's too late, don’t ignore your behavior and hope that people didn’t notice or won’t remember. Rather, make amends by apologizing to anyone you may have offended. You may want to consider handwriting personal notes, and/or stopping by each person’s office the next day to convey your sincerest apologies. And maybe throw in a dry-cleaning gift card for your boss, too!
Dress for success
Are you utterly confused on how to interpret the vague description of “Holiday Festive” written as the dress code to the boss’ party? Frankly, it’s open to interpretation and could mean: a favorite Christmas cat sweater, holiday inspired leggings or even a little red sequin dress.
No matter how festive, the office party is always business occasion. Use tasteful discretion in your selection of attire. Errors in clothing selection may affect coworkers’ opinion of your judgment, credibility and competence. Just think if you’d want your boss seeing you wearing the outfit. If there’s any concern that something is too short, too baggy, too shear, etc., it’s probably a no-go. And that tuxedo t-shirt you may be considering is never a good idea. Just don’t. Please.
Take this holiday season to kick back, relax and get to know some of your colleagues. Use little common sense, too, and enjoy the entertainment … but don’t be the entertainment. One crazy night with your coworkers is not worth the damage that can be done to your brand.
Want to know more about creating a powerful brand? Or maybe you did a little too much partying this holiday season and need some crisis management? Give us a call!
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