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office_partyRISMEDIA, December 9, 2009—A new survey by The Creative Group suggests managers pay attention to how employees behave at their company holiday events. Nine out of 10 executives (92%) polled recently said workers’ office party antics can affect their career prospects.

The national study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and Web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 250 telephone interviews—125 with advertising executives randomly selected from the nation’s 2,000 largest advertising agencies and 125 with senior marketing executives randomly selected from the nation’s 2,000 largest companies.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “To what extent do you think an employee’s behavior at an office holiday party can affect—either positively or negatively—his or her career advancement prospects?” Their responses:

Greatly: 44%
Somewhat: 48%
Not at all: 8%

“There often are many influential people in the room at office holiday parties,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Although these gatherings can be festive, it’s important to keep in mind that they are still work events. You want to exhibit poise and good judgment throughout, no matter how casual the celebration may seem.”

Farrugia noted that office holiday parties are an opportune time to network within your company.

“In many businesses, there may be few chances to mingle with corporate executives and others throughout the organization,” she said. “Employees should use these events to form positive connections with colleagues outside their usual circle. Being well-networked internally can help professionals perform better and enhance their value to their firms.”

The Creative Group offers the following five tips to help professionals make a positive impression at company parties:

Give the gift of good manners. Your social graces are on display at these events, so R.S.V.P. promptly, arrive on time and thank the host for having you. If it’s a formal dinner and you’re not clear on table setting etiquette, be sure to familiarize yourself before the event.

Bring good tidings to all. Go out of your way to chat with coworkers from other departments. Also, be friendly to guests who aren’t employed by your firm. They will appreciate being included in the conversation.

Get away from the grinches. Don’t spend too much time with the bah-humbug types at your holiday soiree. You want to avoid guilt by association. Plus, it’s more fun to spend time with those who are enjoying themselves.

Be jolly, but not overly so. Most people know that too many cocktails at a work function is a recipe for disaster. Yet, that doesn’t stop some from overindulging. Limit your alcohol intake, and don’t pressure others who choose to abstain.

Wrap up on a high note. Don’t be the first or last to leave the party. When departing, be sure to thank your host and those who worked on the event. Sending an e-mail or handwritten thank you note to your host is another way to show your appreciation.

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