Holiday parties can be a lot of fun if you remember three simple words: prepare, perform and praise. Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics of party etiquette; though these things seem simple, it’s always good to remind ourselves that parties are still business much of the time in the entrepreneurial world.


Here are ten tips to help you be successful and confident in navigating the waters of the holiday party.


Prepare – Should I go, who do I bring and what do I wear?

  1. If you’re invited, you’re welcome to go. Respond within five days to the host/party planner
  2. If the invitation isn’t clear, ask the host/party planner if the invitation includes spouse/significant other. If a guest is specified, consider your choice carefully.
  3. Dress conservatively. If you’re not sure of the dress code, ask the host/hostess.


Perform – Getting in the door, getting introduced and getting in & out of conversation.

  1. Your attitude determines your altitude – keep it professional and positive.
  2. Practice your best manners and etiquette. Have no more than one drink and eat lightly and properly.
  3. Always make an introduction where possible; if you’re confident in the guidelines on seniority, relationship or title, use them. Mention the italicized name first, i.e. “Joe Colleague, I’d like to introduce my husband, David Smith.”
    1. Younger to older
    2. Junior staff to senior staff
    3. Colleague to a client/customer
    4. Family member/friend to a colleague
  4. Observe well, speak softly and listen attentively when entering and excusing yourself from conversations. Choose your topics carefully – travel, sports, business trends, movies and books are good; religion, politics and gossip are not.
  5. Remember to use those magic words – please, thank you, you’re welcome, hello, goodbye and excuse me are powerful conversational elements.


Praise – Thanks, acknowledgements and gifts.

  1. Thank you gifts for your host or party planner are almost always welcome. Give one where appropriate; consumables and gift baskets are best.
  2. Write a simple, succinct thank you note afterwards to express your appreciation.


Above all, remember that your office party is a great place for you to establish and maintain friendly relationships with your colleagues and getting to know them on a more personal level will always accelerate your business success. Keep your head and enjoy the party.