Keeping it Classy: How to Make a Good Impression at Social Events for Work

Written by Jennifer Fantin, Recruitment and Admissions Assistant

Whether attending a formal office party or a casual happy hour with coworkers, it is important to remember that these social events are never strictly social. Such events present an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships with your colleagues, but keep in mind that your behavior off the clock can still impact your job.

So, how can you have fun and enjoy yourself at such events without crossing the line? Look over these insightful suggestions:

• Dress Appropriately– Although you may not need to dress in business professional attire, use discretion when deciding what to wear. The company social event is not an ideal setting for the debut of a flashy or revealing new outfit.


• Maintain Proper Etiquette– You are a reflection of your organization, and even outside of its walls your behavior bears heavily on how you are viewed as an employee. It is still important to treat everyone with respect, arrive on time, and be courteous.

• Be Positive or Be Quiet– No organization is problem-free. It is no secret that most people have at least a few work-related frustrations, but a company event is not the place to voice such concerns. Instead focus on enjoying the company of your coworkers and sticking to upbeat topics of conversation, such as current events, sports news, or recent movie releases.

• Socialize Outside Your Group– The workday does not always permit you to interact with everyone in the organization. Instead of spending the entire event with your closest friends from the office, take advantage of the opportunity to speak with less familiar coworkers.

• Don’t Be a Showoff– While a work social event may be a great time to meet the higher-ups of your organization, do not go to the extreme. It is perfectly appropriate to say hello and make your presence known, but don’t follow the executives around all night trying to impress them.

• Indulge Modestly– These situations are not the time relax your manners. Appreciate the food and beverages that are offered, but do not overindulge, especially when alcoholic beverages are present. It is very important to demonstrate that you are mature enough to consume in moderation.

• Do Not Bring Uninvited Guests– In some instances work-related socials are for employees only. It is best to check with those in charge of the event before extending the invitation to family or friends. If you are permitted to bring a guest, choose wisely. Invite someone who will behave appropriately.

• Show Gratitude– It is polite to thank the person in charge of hosting the event. This will show them that you appreciate the time and effort that went into its planning and had a great time.

• Répondez, S’il Vous Plaît – RSVP on time because many of the preparations for an event are dependent upon the number of attendants. If your plans change, be sure to notify the appropriate person, even if it is at the last minute.


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