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How to work the office holiday shindig Add to ...

It's that most risky time of the year: the office holiday bash. Play it smart and you're a star. Screw it up and your Elaine-esque dance moves are headed for company infamy.

Click to download the PDF below to find out how you can work your holiday office shindig.

YOU'RE STOPPED BY THE FLIRTY GUY FROM SALES IN THE COPY ROOM

Everybody is going to know if you hook up at the office party. Everybody. Now you're the centre of gossip and maybe even a sexual harassment complaint. It's not worth it. Politely excuse yourself by saying you just saw someone you have to say hello to.

YOU MEET SOMEONE'S SPOUSE BY THE COAT RACK AT RECEPTION

Don't make any assumptions. It could be the boss's husband for all you know. Keep your conversation light-hearted and free of any incriminating details or gossip. Travel plans for the holidays is a reliably trouble-free topic. Never speak ill of the company or co-workers.

YOU'RE WITNESSING A CO-WORKER BUSTING EMBARRASSING MOVES ON THE DANCE FLOOR

Enjoy every second of it. Take pictures if you can. Video is even better. As for your own dancing, keep it low-key unless you know some totally rad break moves. In that case, bust it!

YOU'RE SUCKED INTO SHOP TALK WITH THE OFFICE BORE BY THE WATERCOOLER

Try to steer the conversation toward non-work topics. If that doesn't help, wait for a pause in conversation, wish them luck with the project they're rambling about and move on. Say, "Merry Christmas [bore's name]" offer a firm handshake and walk away.

YOU SEE A CO-WORKER THROWING UP IN THE WASHROOM

There's always someone who has too much to drink at the office party. As discreetly as possible ñ you don't want to embarrass the poor guy further - either call a taxi yourself or inform your manager so they can arrange to have the person sent home in cab.

YOU'VE CORNERED THE BIG BOSS IN HER OFFICE

Thank her for hosting the party. Then drop one or two of your big accomplishments of the year into the conversation without being all brown-nosy. And don't monopolize the boss's time. But be charming enough to remind her you're someone who's going places.

YOU'RE CHATTING WITH YOUR MANAGER BY THE PUNCH BOWL

Let your hair down a little bit - a Merry Christmas hug is okay if you two get along. But be careful not to reveal any personal details that will negatively colour his impression of you, like letting him know you completely understand how Tiger Woods feels because you're cheating on your spouse with 10 or so people, too.

COMPILED BY DAVE McGINN / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCES:

TREVOR LAWSON, A PARTNER IN THE LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT GROUP AT MCCARTHY TETRAULT LLP

ANDREA GARSON, VICE-PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT WORKOPOLIS

DANIEL FOGEL, A PARTNER AT HICKS MORLEY, A TORONTO-BASED LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW FIRM

DAVID HOWARD, PRESIDENT OF THE EVENT GROUP, A CALGARY-BASED EVENT PLANNING COMPANY

JOANNE BLAKE, FOUNDER OF STYLE FOR SUCCESS INC., AN EDMONTON-BASED BUSINESS ETIQUETTE COMPANY

LEW BAYER, PRESIDENT OF CIVILITY EXPERTS, AN ETIQUETTE TRAINING COMPANY IN WINNIPEG

Follow on Twitter: @Dave_McGinn

 

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