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Ten things to keep in mind at your company’s holiday party

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Ten things to keep in mind at your company’s holiday party

For many companies, the annual holiday or Christmas party is a tradition in Canada.  However many new immigrants may not be familiar with the party protocol.  It’s important to remember that unlike other social gatherings, most of the time, the year-end gathering could be attended by your work colleagues, your bosses, spouses and even your company’s most important clients and business partners.

Here are 10 key points to remember to ensure that you have a great time and perhaps even give your career a boost.

 1. You should go to the Christmas party. Some new immigrants may be quite shy and might find a glitzy social evening intimidating. Some may not be inclined to go.  However in North America the social importance of attending staff events and being involved in company activities is crucial to career success; it also demonstrates that you are willing to be mingle and be part of the company culture.

2. Bring your spouse. If the invite includes your partner, consider bringing them along. A full night of conversation and social interaction might be a terrifying thought, especially when English is not your first language, but what a great time to practice! Your colleagues and their spouses will be relaxed, having a great time and it is an opportunity for everyone to get to know you more and to hear stories of your country and culture.

Here’s a tip:  A few days before the party, ask your colleagues about their wives or husbands, inquire about their interests, hobbies and other pastimes. They may be similar to yours or your spouse’s.  This would be a great way to start conversation.

3. Dress-Up. Put on your nice suit, especially if you don’t wear a suit and tie to work.  Your colleagues will have the opportunity to see you professionally dressed. Perhaps this could even show them that you’d be a fit in the corporate boardroom – especially if that is your goal.

4. Carry breath mints. As the evening moves on and you’ve helped yourself to a few drinks, appetizers, dinner and a few more drinks, your breath will smell like you should be demoted to the photocopier room.  Be kind to your fellow party goers and carry some mints.

5. Don’t drink too much. This is standard throughout the world, not only in Canada. Drinking and job stability just don’t mix.

6. If you’re going alone then ‘mingle’. Mingling means talking with others and getting to know them.  Don’t spend the entire evening alone or talking only to your spouse or that same work colleague that works next to you eight hours a day.  Talk to others, introduce yourself and get acquainted with a few employees that you don’t often talk to.

7. Thank your Manager or President for their support. Make it a point to walk over to your Manager or President and sincerely thank them for supporting you throughout the year.  Let them know that you’re looking forward to supporting their goals and that you admire their efforts.  It’s respectful and could be also be a good career move.

Here’s a tip:  Send a hand-written note a few days after the party acknowledging the wonderful dinner and a great time.  It’s the right thing to do and it would make your mother proud!

8. Stay awhile. Don’t just leave when the dinner’s over and the music begins. Stay a bit, chat, listen to great music, laugh and DANCE!

9. Don’t talk about work too much. Talk about holiday plans that you may have or what exciting things you have planned for the new year. Discuss and take interest in what your colleagues do outside of work.

10. Have a great time! You’ll find that around the world, people are not so different when we’re all relaxed and having fun.

[By Minto Roy, Co-Founder Social Print Paper & President CareersToday Canada]

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