12/17/2010 11:29 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Forget Karaoke: 10 Keys to a Successful Office Party

The holiday season is upon us. Now that the shopping challenges of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and "All Sales are Final" Tuesday are over, we can turn our attention to the ritual of the company office party.

This annual event is potentially the most dangerous night for your career whether you own the company or work in it. Here are a few simple do's and don'ts to have fun, but not sacrifice your career:


1. Don't bring a guest If you are not married or don't have a significant other. It is too unpredictable. Unless you know how your guest will react in these situations, it is too much of a wild card. They might drink too much or have a previous bad business or personal relationship with someone at the party. Remember, you can't control a guest's behavior. Leave nothing to chance.

2. Don't drink too much and eat enough. While it may feel fun to cut loose and tell some of your coworkers or employees what you truly think of them, nothing good can come of this behavior. This includes no flirting, foul language, bad jokes or office gossip.

3. Don't forget to watch reruns of The Office to show how you should not act. Have the image of Michael Scott firmly planted in your brain.

4. Don't wear the lampshade on your head or sing karaoke even if there is a live band. Everyone has a camera. No matter how funny or cool you think it is, don't do it. That photo never looks good on Facebook. Let someone else be "the life of the party."

5. Don't be a no show. If you say you will attend, be there. If you no show, it means you can't be trusted in business either.


1. Come early and leave early. Never be the last one to leave the party. The later the party gets, the more of an opportunity for things to happen that you will not want to see on YouTube in the morning. Your karaoke performance of "Hotel California" by the Eagles sounded better last night than it does today.

2. Add to your personal brand, but don't detract from it. People's personal and business lives spread quickly on the web through social media. How you behave in social settings are just as much a part of your business brand as in a serious company environment. People will post what you do on Twitter and Facebook.

3. Build relationships with new people. Try to hang with people you rarely get a chance to talk to. This is a great use of a party and can form future relationships. Remember, business is about people.

4.Talk to your boss and the boss' boss. Believe it your not, this is a good opportunity to get to know them since no one at the party will be brave enough to talk to them.

5. Have Fun. Obey all the other rules, but you can still relax and have fun. It's a party, remember?

What rules to office parties do you live by?

Barry Moltz gets small business owners unstuck. With decades of entrepreneurial ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get business owners marching forward.