ADELOWO: Say yes to the holiday party, but remember the big picture

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Still have a holiday office party at your place of employment? Count yourself lucky. But remember that while the pretense is pleasure, you also need to approach such affairs with a professional plan that includes both appearance and attitude.

First, remember that even if the boss doesn’t say so, attendance is mandatory.

“In these days of advanced technology, nothing beats face-to-face interactions in a relaxed setting,” says Mona Euler, vice president for IU Health Neuroscience. “Employees who want to move up in their respective company should attend.”

The office party provides a minefield of potential complications.

“Using inappropriate language, consuming too much alcohol, or leaving little to the imagination in your choice of attire (men and women both) will derail your career quickly,” says Liz Snyder, vice president of human resources for Damar Services Inc.

Dress according to the season and the location. Keep in mind that this is your opportunity to dress more in line with your own style—it isn’t a costume party. If it fits your style, you can wear sequins on a tasteful top or a matching tie and handkerchief in a bold color.

I’ve seen some amazing long-sleeve cocktail dresses that are stunning, when worn in the right size and with appropriate heels. If your party will be more casual, a layered cardigan look with a fun blouse paired with boots is a great option. Remember, though, that it’s still a business event, not a hot date or a night out at a dance club.

Show them that, even at a party, you’re ready to form new connections (the office-appropriate kind, of course) and present yourself well.

And use these tips:

1. Choose fashions that fit and flatter your body type. Keep skin to a minimum.

2. Let accessories like your cuff links, earrings, watch, clutch purse or necktie do the talking.

3. Be beverage-savvy. Anything beyond two drinks starts to test your inhibitions and self-awareness.

4. Know your list of people you need to meet. What questions do you have? What do you have in common with them? Establish a connection for a follow-up coffee.

5. Keep work-related discussion to a minimum and learn something about each person you spend time with. Remember, everyone is important. Show them you can arrive appropriately, have engaging conversations, and still have fun. Know which of your interests and hobbies you can discuss easily. Think of examples that show you’re a well-rounded and balanced professional.

6. As painful as it might be, turn off or at least silence your tech gadgets. If it’s the baby sitter, take the call, but defer on the rest. Be present.

7. Have a strategy for remembering names. Acknowledging people by their name makes them feel special and shows you are in the moment.

8. Spouses and guests can become your biggest advocate if you make the right impression. Include them in conversations.

If in doubt about anything, think about how many times the office-party story will get told, repeated and exaggerated. It’s tough to recover your hard-earned reputation.

Oh, and don’t forget to have fun.•


Adelowo is the founder of ImageCube LLC (www.imagecubellc.com), and a certified image consultant of the Association of Image Consultants International. She can be reached at sadelowo@ibj.com.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.