Office Party Survival Guide

The office holiday party can be a tough thing to handle. You want to enjoy it, but not so much that you make a scene.

Nobody wants to be the guy or gal who commits some horrible faux pas, even though everyone likes to talk about them.

So, how do you make sure it isn't you?

The Early Show national correspondent Tracy Smith says that just about everyone has a story about the office party fool.

And etiquette expert Jodi R.R. Smith cautioned Tracy that, "People hear the word 'party' and they forget that they're representing themselves professionally."

So, Jodi suggested, follow some basic rules:

Tip One: Don't get tipsy. Stick to one or two alcoholic drinks and then water or soda until the end of the night.

But, even if you're stone sober, there are other party perils to consider — such as what to wear.

Tip two: Keep skin to a minimum. Don't dress inappropriately. Don't forget that even though you're going to a party, you shouldn't be wearing something you might wear to a nightclub.

Saks Fifth Avenue style director Sharon Weil says there are looks that say "festive," as opposed to "floozy."

"People become too flamboyant at their office party, and that is not the time you want to stand out the most," Weil points out.

And what about accessories?

Aside from jewelry and a handbag, the most important accessory is — your date!

Says Jodi: "If you're concerned about how he or she might make you look, then there's another tip: Consider going alone. Take an honest but loving look at your significant other and decide whether that person is really going to be helpful to you."

Remember: The goal is getting a little face time with the big boss. And that leads to tip four: Plan what to say. "Avoid the shoptalk!" Jodi urges. "Nowadays, there's no excuse for people not knowing information about the boss, because you can Google anybody and get good information."

It's also wise to have an exit strategy.

Jodi tells of "three Bs" you should never use in trying to make a graceful exit. One is, "I have to go to the bar," because you run the risk of appearing to be an alcoholic. Another, saying you have to go to the bathroom. That's not, Jodi says, a professional image to project. And don't say, "Excuse me, but there's someone over there I need to talk to," because the implied "B" is there's someone better over there.

And if somehow you end up playing the party fool anyway? Here's another tip: Look for a new job. "Update your resume and start interviewing," Jodi says. "Get out while you still have your dignity. Or what's left of it."

One last tip: If you come alone, leave alone! Jodi says, tempting as it may be, the company party is not the time to hook up with that cute person you've had your eye on, because everyone will know about it.