It’s almost time for the annual office holiday party, and yes, you must attend. How can you make a great impression on the big bosses and use the occasion to actually boost your career? 

Angela Civitella is a certified business management coach and founder of the firm INTINDE. Her advice:

Behave yourself. Don’t laugh. You wouldn’t believe how many people forget themselves when staring down a bowl of eggnog. Let’s ration the levels of alcohol consumed in an environment where you can’t afford to lose your mind, or your manners. Oh, and don’t forget to dress like presence matters to you. After all, Coco Chanel said it best, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

Make the first move. Here’s your moment. Here’s where you make it count. Just a little liquid courage (very little) and off you go to introduce yourself to the person who signs your paycheck. Make sure your drink is in your left hand because you don’t want to extend a clammy cold hand to your boss and have that be your first contact with him or her. Remember to clearly state first and last name and do not forget to mention which department you work in. This is very important. Remember, less is more. Don’t be like a bull in a china shop. Be smooth, light and quick. You have eight seconds to make a lasting impression, not eight minutes.

• Be social. It is a party after all. You certainly don’t want to be seen as a wallflower or as someone who goes to the bathroom all the time because you don’t know how else to circulate the room, right? And don’t talk about work with the boss. Pick any other subject to engage the boss in conversation with. It is considered poor form to discuss at a holiday event something that can be discussed at the office any day of the week.

• Include their plus one. You would give yourself away as a corporate climber if you do not pay attention to the person accompanying your boss at the event. Be inclusive, ask them questions and show interest in wanting to get to know them. If your boss brought someone to the office holiday party, chances are this person is important to know and to include.

• Make an easy and quick exit. Do not overstay your welcome. You are not the only person that should hold the boss’s attention. They need to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. Be open, be friendly and be on your way.