This week I have a few parties lined up so I’m going to try to follow a few simple rules at this more “mature” stage of my life. I know, yawn. Trust me, I have done things that aren’t awesome. Would I do them again? Perhaps, but being that girl who went overboard at the old office party seems so cliche, right? I suppose anything can happen, but I’m going into it with some rules—keep reading.
TOOLS: Discipline. Suitable outfit. A personality.
PURPOSE: To enjoy yourself and show off your “fun” non-work side.
WHAT’S AT STAKE : Your reputation and at the very extreme employment/benefits.
THE PAY OFF: You’ll have fun and raise your popularity in the office. A potential win-win.
ENTER THE ROOM
With confidence and a smile. Don’t be on your phone or pretending to text. Your first port of call should be to say greet your host first, not the bar or food table. A short “hi and thanks for having me” at the beginning of the night will allow you the freedom to mingle with whomever you want now that the formalities are out of the way.
Selecting the right outfit is like a choose-your-own-adventure book, and your choice can seriously determine the party plot for the night. It’s important to find the perfect compromise of “I’m attractive and sexy after office hours but still professional and worthy of a promotion” kind of vibe, which is not easy. For outfit inspiration start by Googling good chic girls like Gwyneth, Anne Hathaway or Rose Byrne. Leave Britney for other festive occasions, i.e. Halloween.
ENGAGE IN CONVERSATION
Listen. Smile. Nod. Gesture. Listen. Smile. Nod. Gesture. Keep doing this and it will catch on. Come prepared with a few pre-packaged conversation starters. Anything newsy, TV or pop culture related makes an easy entry into party banter (and we love this simple advice from Cup of Jo). We suggest a quick catch-up prior to your event via such sites as The Daily Beast, Just Jared or Sous Style (!) so your information is up to date and relevant. Seriously, it’s incredible how some of the deepest friendship connections have begun with “OMG, Beverly Hills are totally my favorite housewives too.….!”
MIX AND MINGLE
Work the room and don’t just hang with the cool people or colleagues who will advance your career. Make time to say hi to all types from all departments. Channel Princess Diana “people’s princess” on this one. Keep it elegant and always sincere.
If you’re introduced to someone, always respond with “Hi, [insert name], I’m [insert your own name]. For example, “Hi Greg, My name is Pippa. Nice to meet you.” If Greg seems a little “beige and forgettable” make a note on your blackberry so when it’s time to say goodbye you can refer back to it. There’s nothing worse than being the person who is too self-involved not to remember a name.
BOOZE LESS. DON’T BE A MESS.
I hate to be all “Patty the Millionaire Matchmaker” and quote the two-drink minimum, but it’s kind of the truth. Depending on your normal drinking abilities it’s important to keep the blur-and-slur out of your repartee for the evening. Colleagues are always desperate to gossip the next day about who got wasted so this time let it be about someone else.
The holidays are the ultimate time for romance. Hello, “Love Actually?” Exactly. There’s nothing more gorgeous than carols and Christmas lights, but if you’re going to hook up with a colleague make sure it’s for the right reasons. Alternatively, if it’s for no reason in particular apart from a good time then enjoy but be prepared to be the subject of office chit chatter the following day (either way, try to keep it ultra-stealth). However, be open-minded. Who knows? One day you might just utter the words….Yeah, Mum and Dad hooked up at the office Christmas party….and they said it wouldn’t last! (DISCLAIMER: Sous Style cannot be blamed for any repercussions resulting from taboo messing about.)
MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA WISELY
Always ask yourself, are these nine self-portraits of me wearing a Santa hat really necesary to enter the cyberworld? And if the answer is YES (!) then please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if your boss follows you, think before you Tweet—as far as he or she is concerned, you sagely skipped the after-party downtown…until it shows up on all channels of social sharing.
Oh, I love the holidays. Enjoy!