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How to behave Professional at office parties and why it is important.

Let’s talk about Business Etiquette when attending a professional dinner, your organisation’s end year function, award ceremony, Christmas Party etc. 

Before you start to dancing on the tables drunk, remember that this is your place of work. You are the brand ambassador for the business. You spend 80% of your day at work and with your co-workers. People you must face daily, who will not forget how you behaved, what you said, what you didn’t say or how you reacted. There is a set of rules, aka business etiquette, that you need to adhere to in a professional environment and for you to be seen as professional. It is possible for you to enjoy the office Christmas Party or an official work dinner while remaining professional, well-mannered, and classy. 

Tips for Office Party Etiquette

If you work, chances are you will be at an office party, corporate event, or a professional dinner, at least once. Here are some useful tips to remember:

·       Give your outfit some thought. Keep to the dress code.

Your outfit shows self-respect. The way you look can communicate various messages. Adhering to the dress code shows respect towards the organisers and management. Don’t dress like you are going to a nightclub with a short dress, hot pants etc. The opposite is also not recommended. Don’t dress too casually in a jean and t-shirt, unless the dress code specifies it. Consider your attire carefully. First determine the style of the event and ask about the dress code if it is not stated on the invitation. Dress stylish, classy, and appropriately. If it is, for example, a cocktail event, the cocktail dress should be smart, the right length but sophisticated.  

·       Don’t be a no-show. Be on time.

Show you have respect for other people’s time by being on time for the event. It is very bad manners to RSVP your attendance to an event and then be late or just never rock up. It is also considered rude and inconsiderate if you cancel last minute. You were catered for and thus money is wasted if you don’t show. Having respect for organisers, management, co-workers and yourself is a sign of professionalism.

·       Don’t bring a “Plus one” if it is not stated on the invite.

Bringing your wife, husband, or children along to an office function, without them being invited, leaves the organisers red-faced when they have not been catered for. Furthermore, the function might not be suited for them, and it is just plain rude to gate crash a function.

·       Food and drinks.

If you can, avoid drinking, but if you must, drink in moderation. When you are tipsy or drunk, you don’t have control over your behaviour and what you say. You might regret something in the morning, so rather avoid it from the start. Do eat the food please. The company paid for it so you can enjoy. However, it is very unprofessional to stuff your handbag with food or grab a takeaway for your kids.

·       Communicate properly.

Quite a few corporates are huge and have different departments who don’t all know each other or communicate daily. This is a time where you can network, make a positive and lasting impression with top management. Introduce yourself to people. Don’t shy away from conversations, and when you speak, speak with confidence and assertiveness. Be extra careful when you speak and think before you speak. Don’t use offensive language and don’t tell offensive jokes; avoid gossip or badmouthing your boss. Don’t get involved with such conversations and don’t fuel it.

·       Flirting is a definite No-No.

Office parties are not singles bars. Sexy gestures, flirting eyes, suggestive behaviour will surely backfire eventually. The workplace is a professional space, a place for work, and we strongly advise that your relationships at work are kept professional. Don’t get your lines blurred. 

“Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.” Will Cuppy

We don’t want to be the fun police, and we are not saying don’t enjoy yourself. It is supposed to be a relaxed and fun activity, but you must remember that you are still at work where you are not only portraying your own image but also are expected to uphold the company’s image. 

The Mindspa Institute offers a Business Etiquette training course where the delegates will learn the hidden value – and priceless potential – of image, etiquette, and protocol and how it can make a difference to their career success and your business. In life and in business, first impressions as well as on-going interactions are critical because people do business with other people. Employees’ appearance, attitude and behaviour are therefore a direct reflection of your company and brand. Send an enquiry to enquiries@themindspa.co.za for more information to send your team on this course either in-person training or via online Zoom sessions.