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How to survive (even thrive) at the company holiday party

Mark Garrison and Paulina Velasco Nov 24, 2016
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The holidays are fast approaching, and that means the company holiday party is right around the corner. Many people are looking forward to spending some social time with their co-workers and bosses. Others might find it a bit difficult navigating the difference between work and play.

We asked Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of the etiquette expert Emily Post, to give us pointers on how to put our best foot forward in these situations. Lizzie has taken on the family mantle and is an author and host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast. She graciously answered our most pressing questions on how to put our best foot forward at company parties.

This is the time where you actually get a moment to have chit chat, to have nice, easy low-stakes conversations. And that can often be an amazing time to build trust and camaraderie with those that you work with that you might not usually get the chance to do when you’re having those work-based conversations all the time.

For Lizzie, it’s actually best to avoid talking about your next raise, about cuts in personnel, or about your other concerns for the upcoming year. You’ll do better trying to foster personal connections, asking bosses and co-workers about their hobbies and their holiday plans.

I think these are the ways to show that you have a perspective that’s well-rounded, that isn’t just one focus on business and business alone.

Perhaps the most crucial question as this volatile election year is wrapping up — how to handle the inevitable political talk.

One thing that people forget – because our political discussions get so big so quickly — is that politics can be private, and that it’s something that you don’t actually have to share, and especially in a work environment. You shouldn’t feel you have to share your political views.

Her advice? Change the subject. Ask your co-workers something about themselves that will allow you to get to know each other a little better, and leave the political discussion for another day. For now, as long as you watch the amount of eggnog you serve yourself, you can relax and enjoy the party!

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