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Dec11
Holiday Party Etiquette

Today is Tuesday, so this post is on positive personal impact.

It’s the holiday season, and with the holiday season come holiday parties.  Holiday parties are meant to be fun, and should be fun.  However, more than one person has destroyed all of the work he or she did building positive personal impact in a few minutes at a holiday party.

Enjoy your holiday parties.  Remember, however, a holiday party sponsored by your company or your customers – or even one at which a lot of people with whom you work will be present is a business event.  Treat it as such.

This means that you do not want to risk damaging your professional reputation in one night.  Here are some common sense ideas for enjoying holiday parties, but also for using them as a way to build positive personal impact.

  • Eat and drink in moderation. You don’t want to show up to work on Monday thinking to yourself, “I can't believe I said that”.  Alcohol and business rarely mix well, so limit how much you consume. This is an opportunity to build business relationships and to build positive personal impact. You will want to keep your wits about you.  Your after-hours conduct can and will have a direct bearing on your business future.  If you choose to drink, do so minimally. Sparkling water with a lime and non alcoholic beer are good alternatives for keeping a clear head at your holiday party.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion. Remember that this is an office party.  Pay attention to how you dress. If the event is immediately after work, your business attire is appropriate.  If the party is later in the evening or on the weekend, your choices will vary depending on the type of event. If you aren't certain what to wear, check directly with your host or with coworkers whose taste and judgment you trust. Make sure that what you wear reflects well on you professionally. This is not the time to show up in your most revealing outfit.
  • Introduce yourself to senior executives.  Your company holiday party may be the only time you see the president, CEO or VPs in person. This is a great opportunity to become visible to your organization's higher-ups. Say hello, chat for a minute or two and then be on your way.  Other people will be wanting to meet these people too.  Don’t monopolize their time.
  • Use your holiday party to get to know and mingle with people from other departments.  Don’t spend the entire party hanging out with the people you work with every day.   When you are chatting with people you don’t know well remember that it's not what you have to say; it's about what other people have to say. The trick is allowing other people to talk. If you use good, open-ended questions, you won't have any trouble with conversations. The best conversation starter begins with “tell me about...” You can then continue with “"That's interesting. Tell me more.”
  • Arrive and leave on time.  Don’t be the first one there.  On the other hand, avoid arriving 20 minutes before the end just to make an appearance. Even more important, don't be the last one to leave, asking the bartender for “just one more drink” as he or she is closing up shop.  People do notice things like this.
  • Be sure to thank the people who planned the party. They probably put in a great deal of time and effort.  Saying “thank you” is the nice thing to do, but it also makes you stand out from the many employees who don't.
  • If you've been a star performer in your organization this year, you may be honored with a toast. Accept the honor gracefully.  Thank the person who toasted you.

Lydia Ramsey, author of Manners That Sell, sums it up quite nicely.

  • “The holiday party is not the time to let down your hair or throw caution to the wind. What you say and do at one of these gatherings will live on for a long time in the minds of your associates. If your behavior is inappropriate, your career may be shorter than everyone else's memory. If you conduct yourself with charm and savvy, your rise up the ladder of success could pick up speed.”

Have fun at your holiday parties.  But remember, they are business events first, and parties second.  Use them as a way to build positive personal impact.  By the way, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Year to all of you.  May 2007 bring you peace and happiness -- and success in your career.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Bud

PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

 

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