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Tuesday, December 13, 2005
What you should ---- and should'nt --- do at your company's gathering.

Office holiday parties are like blind date. Wear the wrong shirt, tell the wrong jor or drink one too many martinis and your potentially happy future is over before it began.

Each year amid the jovial flow of cocktail franks, gin-and-toics and choruses of "Fill Me Up, Buttercup", someone becomes folklore, forest labeled as the guy who thought it would be funny to teach the boss' wife to dance the Macarena.

The delicate task of navigating this half social, half professional occasion leaves many employees wishing they could simply stay home.

But according to executive coach Marjori Brody, the office holiday party is an ideal opportunity to raise your profile at work in a positive way andmake connections that can help your career.

"Most people think it's a party, and etiher they don't want to go or they'll go an just eat and drink with their friends. Both of theose are mistakes," Broday says. "It's a chance to be talking to people you don't normally speak to and a good opportunity to create an impression".

But how do you make the most of the opportunity without seeming opportunistic? And how do you participate in the party without partying too hard?

Image consultant Colleen Abrie says it begins with the proper wardrobe.

"You've gor three seconds or less tomake a first impression and about two years to change that if it does'nt go well," she says. "What do you want people to remember about you the next day, the next week?"

It's safest to dress conservatively, but it's also important to know your industry's culture: The same outfit that might be provocative at an investment firm could seem tame at a party for a record label.

Once you look the part, it's time to tackle the event itself. Before the party, find out a bit about your boss' supervisors. Perhapds one shares your love of the Boston Red Sox and another has four kids, just like you.

Introduce yourself and mention what you've got in common, but keep things brief.

"You're looking for something in common to show you're interested in building relationships and going to step above." Brody says. You're also emphasizing that you're a well-rounded person with interest other than work.

Brody advises ending a chat by creating an opportunity to further the connections. "You can say, "This has really been enjoyable. Let me stop by your office with something I'd like to give you".

Then follow up days later with some information or an e-mail like a helpful way to start a conversation, but experts say to avoit it.

Alcohol may seem like a helpful way to start a conversation, but experts say to avoid it.

Two alcoholic drinks for the evening, alternated with soft drinks or water, is probably a safe rule. An even vetter bet is to skip it entirely.

If you do drink alcohol, the experts say, be sure to eat too.

Another way to get involved in a positive way is to circulate in the crowd and introduce your acquantances to one another.

And as you leave, be sure to say thank you to your hosts, just as you would at someone's home. It's a subtle way of making sure your supervisors know you were there.

What to wear.
It's best to dress conservatively at an office party, experts say. But if you long to make a fashion statement, try doing it with jewelry, accessories or hairstyle. For women, dangling earrings and strappy high heels add a fetive toudh to a basic black. For men, a bold shirt can spice up a traditional shirt.

What to say
Many people freeze up at the thought of chatting with their bosses at a party. Image consultant Marlon Gellatly advises shy clients to ask others about themselves and have a few questions ready. "Something as simple as,'What keeps you busy when you're away from work?'opens people up to a small talk". she says.

What to drink
The last thing you want to do at an office party is get drunk and embarrass yourself. A good rule of thumb is to have two alcoholic drinks and call it quits. Or don't drink at all. "You don't have to feel compelled to drink anything" executive coach Marjorie Brody says. "You can carry glass of ginger ale or Sprite around."

What to do
What about the person who wakes up with the after party realization that they've made a mistake? If it was minor, it's probably best not todraw attention ot it. But really blatnat mistakes, such as drunken behavior, do require an apology to anyone directly offended.

(from the Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:24 AM  
  • At 3:23 PM, Blogger Mz Manners said…

    Great advice! Check out my list at www.mzmanners.blogspot.com

    Your Friend,

    Mz Manners

  • At 1:43 AM, Blogger Drew Watts said…

    Thanks for this advice on company party!! Want to arrange a successful party and will use these tips there. Planning to book one of famous corporate events for the day. Have heard a lot about this venue and my friend also recommended me.

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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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