10 Pro Tips for Your Office Holiday Party

*by Robin Gelfenbien

It’s the biggest social event of the year – your office holiday party. As a PR pro, you feel like you’ve got this. You know all about presenting the right image to the world. After all, people pay you to help them look good in public.

But add a few shots of tequila and a belief that this business bash is off the record, and you could be escorted to the door for good.

So what are the secrets you need to know so you can crush it at your office holiday party? (And leave with great memories… and your pride. )

Here are ten things you can do to be prepared, be on your best behavior and ultimately, avoid career suicide.

1. Use the 2 Second Rule
After a cocktail or two max (see tip #4), you’ll probably want to share all the fun on Snapchat. To prevent posting something you’ll regret later, set your Snaps to 2 seconds. That way your followers can get a taste of your night, but really won’t be able to see any embarrassing photos (or use them against you). And the good news? You can do it in a snap. 😉

2. Know the Players
Take a few minutes before you head out to familiarize yourself with who the key players are at your company. Check out the “About the Team” section on your company’s website and get acquainted with who senior management is. The last thing you want to do is put your foot in your mouth with your boss’ boss as you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder.

3. Find a Twerk-Around
When your jam comes on, you cannot hold yourself back. We get it. You completely embrace the saying, “Dance like nobody’s watching,” but guess what? EVERYONE is watching and very likely posting your NSFW dance moves on social media, so exercise (see what I did there?) some restraint.

4. Know these “Buzz” Worthy Choices
Keep your booze to a minimum. One way to extend your buzz throughout the night is with a wine spritzer. One part wine, one part club soda, it helps keep your consumption in check and helps you stay in control. And always remember, if you have to close one eye to post that pic or vid on social, don’t.

5. What Not to Wear
File this one under TMI. You don’t want to see your boss in a midriff top, and they don’t want to see that tattoo you’ve deliberately placed where the sun don’t shine. Now you don’t have to wear a turtleneck, but you do need to go for something appropriate, fun and not too revealing. Don’t forget people will be snapping pics all night. And the last thing you want is to wind up on a slideshow in the lobby that people will be watching for the next week.

6. Don’t Blow it Off
FOMO runs high this time of year, and people can be flaky about making plans, but as soon as you get the invite for your office holiday party, put it in your calendar. This is not an optional event. Think of it like booking a Today Show or New York Times interview. You wouldn’t miss that, right? Exactly. The good news is that you don’t have to stay long, but you do have to make an appearance. Look at it like you’re earning credit in the reputation bank.

7. You Better Not Cry. Better Not Pout.
I’m telling you why…because you do not want to find yourself badmouthing your co-worker who plays Carly Rae Jepsen non-stop (seriously, Karen, it’s annoying). Or pleading with your boss for a raise… or a better media monitoring service (you know, like Critical Mention. )  Keep the conversation light, fun and not about work and you’ll leave on a high note.

8. Your Plus One = Strike One for your Reputation
Just because there’s an open bar doesn’t mean it’s an open invitation for all your friends to show up. It’s rude. So unless your workplace allows a plus one, don’t invite anyone along. You’re just inviting trouble, and trust us, people are like elephants. They never forget.

9. Avoid the Office Hookup
There are so many warnings against inter-office romance and for good reason. It’s just messy. So when you see your office crush at the holiday party, have a nice chat, and move on. Better to leave the office hookups to the professionals… IT.

10. Never Say “Work From Home”  
If you call in sick the next day or claim to be “working from home,” everyone will be calling B.S. Grab some water, ibuprofen and a cheese, bacon and egg sandwich. Drag your sorry hungover butt in and Suck. It. Up. Everyone else got themselves out of bed and to the office, and you better, too…rookie.

So with these tips in mind, go have fun at your holiday party. And remember the only walk of shame you want to be doing is the one after you face-plant into an entire supreme pizza by yourself at the after-party.