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The fine line between being schmoozy and boozy this office party season

NAIT business school instructor offers the dos and don'ts for those eager to avoid the pitfalls of party season.

NAIT business school instructor Keven McGhan.

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NAIT business school instructor Keven McGhan.

Ask not what the office party can do for you, but what you can do for the office party.

A business school instructor at NAIT says there are a few things employees should keep in mind before hitting the booze at their work Christmas parties this month.

The most important point is not making it all about yourself.

“We should focus on what value we can add to the event, rather than focusing on what we can get out of the event,” said instructor Keven McGhan.

“When you’re having a conversation with someone, focus on finding out about them, talking about them, being generous with your questions. And finding out if there’s things that you can do or people that you know, that might help to strengthen relationships and create opportunities for other people.”

Active listening will bring you greater success if you want to build relationships that will improve your work life – and maybe even get you in the running for a promotion, he said.

But that could all go out the window with a few too many drinks.  

McGhan said it’s important to remember that you are “basically still at work” when you’re at an office party, and the acceptable level of buzz depends mostly on your office environment.

“Some smaller companies have a bit more of a family feel and maybe it’s a little bit more casual. But you need to be in touch with what the culture of the upper management of the company is,” he said.

While inappropriate party behaviour could get you fired, it could also just make things weird on Monday – and for many days to come.

“If your reputation from the office party leaves you as a person that other people don’t respect or aren’t comfortable dealing with, then it’s going to be hard to get your job done,” McGhan said.

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