Friday, December 16, 2005

‘Tis the season to be jolly … not for career folly!

So, it’s that time of year again – holiday parties sponsored by your company and/or professional associations. With good sense and foresight, these events can be excellent venues for you to demonstrate your competent advantage.TM

Here are some tips to help you be the "life of the party," but NOT the subject of post-event gossip.

Before the event:

  • Get a feel for the mood and expectations for the party. Do people dress up or is business attire more appropriate? Regardless of the official attire, you should always dress to impress.
  • Will there be any announcements or formal activities? And, if so, when will they occur? The last thing you want to do is stroll into the room just as your President or CEO is making his/her holiday toast!

During the event:

  • Watch your food and alcohol consumption. Have fun, but be careful not to overindulge. This is NOT the party for you to demonstrate how many tequila shots you can drink or how many cocktail shrimp you can eat!
  • Take notice of who attends the event. In addition to chatting with coworkers, look for ways to informally connect with managers or executives. It’s not necessarily the place to give a long speech about why you deserve a raise or promotion. However, you should always be prepared to give a 30-second pitch about your role in your organization. Be sensitive to their desire to talk about business. Parties can be great occasions to discuss hobbies and other interests that identify otherwise unknown commonalities.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Take notice of when the party starts to wind down. Why? Well, do you really want to be around when the cater waiters are clearing the tables and putting up chairs? Remember, you don’t have to go home but …

After the event:

  • Make sure you have a safe mode of transportation for the evening.
  • If you do happen to connect with a new colleague, make an effort to reach out via phone or email within a couple of days. Expanding your network at holiday parties is a great way to leverage your competent advantage.TM

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