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There is a certain amount of build-up to any after-hours event planned with coworkers. Will it be fun or tedious and awkward? Who’s going to let loose? Who is REALLY going to let loose? Whatever the cause for celebration, work parties tend to be an opportunity to leave a lasting impression for coworkers and clients alike. Here are a few easy ways to make sure it’s a good (non-hot mess) one:
Know Your Drink Limit
I know, seems obvious, but this cannot be stressed enough. It doesn’t matter how open the bar is or how much more casual your boss is after hours. There is a certain line, and you don’t want to cross it, or get near it for that matter. Think about how much you drink on a first date; you may use it as a social lubricant, but you also want to keep your thought filter active. And remember, whomever you offend, you will still see them every weekday after, until you get a new job or die from shame.
Try having only one drink an hour and thinking of your cocktail more as a prop or accessory that as your life’s blood. Also make sure to eat food during or before, so that you don’t get affected more than normal.
Dress the Part
Now’s not the time to be too cool for school; if there’s a theme, embrace it. This shows office spirit and that you’re willing to embrace the creative element of the evening. Also consider the inevitable spillage that will take place on your outfit. Wear darker, more stain-hiding clothing just in case.
Depending on the office and your goals for the evening, you also want to still remember you are dressing for an office setting. Stay away from too revealing or sloppy ensembles. If there are clients at this party, you should remember you are representing your company and still want to present that in your outfit choice.
Exit Your Comfort Zone
For the shy, an office party can often feel overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with all of the clients yet or work for a large company. While having a plus one may help you relax and, in turn, socialize with more groups, it’s important to remember to step outside of your comfort zone.
Doing some brief LinkedIn research can help you put names to faces of people you may email with for work, but have never met in person. If you’d like to meet them, a comment as simple as, “Aren’t these appetizers delicious?” or “Is this your first party here?” will get the ball rolling. This may read like light stalking, but if some positive networking comes out of it, then no harm done. Also check out LinkedIn to remind you of the names of people you have already met. NO ONE likes the line, “Remind me of your name again?” That may be the ultimate office party foul.