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Holiday Party Etiquette

By Barbara Weltman, Big Ideas For Small Business – 12/01/2007 – 12:00am

Behavior at a company party or other business event matters. It can create a lasting impression with long-term consequences. What is acceptable behavior and what is not? Etiquette expert and author of Business Etiquette for Dummies, Sue Fox shares her tips for appropriate business conduct.

Dressing and drinking

What’s appropriate business attire for a holiday party? As with any business meeting or event, good taste should govern the choice of clothing, keeping in mind that you want people to notice you and not your clothes. The owner should specify the type of attire for the event; business attire (something that conforms to the company’s dress code) is never wrong.

Whether liquor should be served at a holiday party is up to the owner. In deciding this, keep in mind potential liability for employees’ behavior at and following the event. If liquor will be served, limit this to early in the evening (usually no more than one hour) to minimize excess.

When to talk business

There is a time to socialize and a time to do business. At some business gatherings, such as a holiday party to which significant others have been invited, not everyone is keen on shop talk. If you must discuss a particular business matter, pick an appropriate time and place during the event (e.g., the back of the dining area) so you don’t disrupt the enjoyment of others.

Never talk about:

* Confidential information
* Co-workers

Idea: Suggest to guests that they keep electronic devices out of sight. If they must stay in touch, phones and beepers can be set on the vibrate option.

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