How to Network, Impress, and Still Have Fun!

’Tis the season! Christmas party invitations are probably flooding your inbox these last few weeks more than new clients.

Christmas Party Etiquette is about how to conduct oneself at the office or workplace social gatherings such as parties, luncheons, dinners, cocktail parties and the like. View your Christmas party as an opportunity to improve relationships with colleagues, other business owners and professionals.

So, just how do you navigate the cocktail-infused waters of the Christmas party? In today’s workplace environment whether you are self-employed or working in an office environment there are some important navigation tools that you may want to keep in mind

Here are a just few suggestions:

Do: Show Up

Whether you’re a seasoned business owner, you just started, or you’re coming to the end of a short-term consulting contract, it’s important to attend the party as a great opportunity to network and get to know those you may have seen in passing in at other events but never actually met.

It’s a great chance to build relationships and goodwill with your colleagues—or, if you’re hoping to make a move within an organization in the new year the perfect chance to introduce yourself to the team you’re hoping to join.

Even if you’re between jobs but garnered an invitation as a result of volunteer or pro bono work you’ve done or as the guest of a friend, you should wholeheartedly accept.  The holidays are about generosity. So if the situation is right, discreetly hand out your card—in the spirit of the season, others may be more agreeable to make connections on your behalf.

Don’t: Ignore the Dress Code

If you don’t want to be misinterpreted, don’t wear a see-through blouse or muscle shirt. But the sentiment is serious— it’s recommended that you make sure you “know the event.”

“Think carefully about what you’re going to wear. If you stand out like a sore thumb, you’re not going to be comfortable and you’re also going to look like you didn’t read the invitation.”

For men, you can’t go wrong with a standard suit and tie, while women can dress up the ubiquitous black dress with pearls or a statement necklace.

Regardless of your choice, remember: This is a business event!

Do: Engage Everyone—Especially People You Don’t Know

You’ll likely be meeting quite a few new faces, including your colleagues’ spouses and friends.

Even if you may never see these people ever again, it’s important to treat them with respect, kindness and dignity. Chances are, they may not know anyone else at the gathering, and making them feel welcome and included is the polite thing to do.

Always “Introduce everyone with enthusiasm and include them in the conversation with eye contact, comments, and questions.” Make introductions, “if you find yourself talking with someone about IT and you know nothing about it, but met someone earlier you think they’d hit it off with, walk him or her over and make the introduction.”

Don’t: Be Distracted by Technology

Leave the techie toys alone, including smartphones and tablets, and refrain from texting, emailing, status updating, or tweeting while you’re talking to people, it’s common sense. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on opportunities to learn more about your guests, and many may view your behavior as rude or self-involved.

Here is friendly reminder to partygoers, avoid doing anything that you wouldn’t want to see posted on the internet or uploaded on YouTube or Snapchat. Further, don’t post pictures or comments without permission.

Do: Keep the Two-Drink Maximum Rule

While this pops up on nearly every holiday do and don’t list, it bears repeating. If you have too many of those free-flowing cocktails, you’ll probably pay for it later. Now that Cannabis has become legal in Canada, that does not mean you bring a few joints to the party or add to the drinks or food.

Yes, it’s a party, but it’s still a business event, so behave accordingly.

Don’t: Arrive Without a Gift

Regardless of the venue, you’ll want to bring a token of appreciation for the invitation and host’s hospitality at this busy time of year.

“Bring a thoughtful gift. Present something your hosts can enjoy later. For example and depending on the host, a fancy jar of preserves or some homemade fudge.  Do consider any allergies when providing homemade foods.

Holiday parties present a wonderful chance to celebrate and network, make sure that if people are going to be talking about you in the new year it’s positive.

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