Thursday, December 4, 2014

Surviving the Holiday Office Party: Be Memorable without Making a Scene

The annual holiday office party is filled with minefields: What's the best way to introduce your self to the boss's spouse?  How should you recognize the accomplishments of co-workers?  Is a toast appropriate? Is your cocktail dress too revealing?  Will anyone notice you wore the same tuxedo pants suit last year?

 Speech coach, Chris Jahnke (author of THE WELL-SPOKEN WOMAN and style guru Tara Luizzi, of tara styles dc, share do's and don'ts for every woman to look and sound her best at cocktail receptions and formal dinners.

The season for merriment is the perfect occasion to offer a toast.  The gesture gives you a chance to shine while praising co-workers.  Here's how to give a well-spoken toast:

-- Prepare what you want to say and practice in advance.
-- Keep it short and sweet.  It's hard to mess up in 20-seconds.  Over 90 seconds and you're running on too long.
-- Be sincere.  A toast is a chance to recognize a deserving colleague or applaud the team that brought big results.
-- A smile and good posture will stand out in a good way.

-- Don't be the person who shares too much information or says something inappropriate. Go easy on the eggnog, too much imbibing can result in a loosened tongue. I'll never forget the co-worker who repeatedly said to me:  "You don't need to work because your husband is a lawyer."
-- Don't use the company dinner as the time to be the comedienne of the party.  Your Tina Fey routine may be hysterical but your co-workers may be rolling their eyes.

Dressing Do's and Don'ts
There are many things to be stressed about this time of the year.  One of those need not be what to wear to holiday events.  Here are a few simple do's and don'ts to help you add a little sparkle to your professional look.

-- Do know the dress code for the event you'll be attending.
-- Do make sure you own a little black dress. It can take you thru the holidays, especially with the right accessories.
-- Do purchase a dressy top that can be worn under a tuxedo jacket or even with jeans and heels.
-- Do accessorize with something that shimmers and sparkles (think fun jewelry or a great evening bag).

-- Don't wear sequins head to toe.
-- Don't wear bare legs or strappy sandals unless you are celebrating the holidays in 80 degree weather.
-- Don't wear any clothing during the holiday season with the following patterns: snowflake, candy cane, Christmas tree or skier.
-- Don't wear something that is too low cut, too short, or too tight at the same time.  There is a difference between sexy and vulgar.

Tara brings 15 years of experience in the fashion industry with Bergdorf Goodman and Relish helping women define their personal style  Chris is speech coach who has helped First Ladies and corporate executives earn standing ovations before audiences large and small.  She is the author of THE WELL-SPOKEN WOMAN

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