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

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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.


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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1