Company Holiday Party Etiquette: 10 Tips for Being a Good Guest

Modern Marketing


‘Tis the season for ugly sweaters, the big man in red, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and of course the annual company holiday party. It’s that time of year when sales and marketing teams get together to relax, celebrate, and have some fun. Although technically a party, it’s no time to channel your inner Animal House toga days. We have all heard the horror stories about that one employee, in that one instance during a company holiday soiree, so it’s never too late for a quick refresher on how to be a good guest, while maintaining a standard of professionalism, at your company’s holiday party – or any company party for that matter!

  1. Play the name game, in your head! Forgetting names is a common problem, but also costly if it prevents you from approaching an unfamiliar colleague or their spouse. Check out these tips for great advice for networking events as well as holiday work functions.
  2. Make a good toast. It’s not always the best idea to offer up a random toast, but if the moment strikes and you are a host of sorts, check out Entrepreneur’s guide to giving a good toast.
  3. Don’t hover in the corner.A good guest mixes and mingles. Try to talk about something besides work; it can be quite refreshing. Stick to topics that can keep the conversation rolling such as music, movies, television shows, art openings, marketing automation (kidding, but not really), and favorite restaurants around town.
  4. Don’t overdo it on the booze. If you have a tendency to overindulge, limit yourself to 2-3 drinks tops, and drink water or club soda in between alcoholic beverages.
  5. Don’t double dip. Heed the advice from a classic Seinfeld episode. When you double dip, “that’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip. When you take a chip, just take one dip and end it.”
  6. Don’t dominate the conversation. A wise man once said “Relationships are a two-way street, not a highway and a bike path.” It’s important to join the conversation, but be sure to listen to what others have to say as well.
  7. Put down the smartphone. Enough said.
  8. Ding dong merrily on time. Arrive within the first half hour and don’t be the last man standing. You don’t have to be the first one in the door, and you certainly don’t want to be the last one out the door. Plan to stay at least a half hour (minimum) but try for a full hour (optimal).
  9. Dress accordingly. It’s a holiday party, not a Night at the Roxbury. If you wouldn’t visit your mother wearing it, don’t punish your co-workers with distracting or distasteful outfits that might incite an HR violation.
  10. Enlist a photographer. Chances are you have an employee who knows a thing or two about photography. Ask them to take a few shots of your holiday party to share with the staff. It also makes great content for sharing on your company blog and other social networks.

Have any tips to add? What is your company doing for this year’s holiday party?