Party Etiquette
How to be remembered for the right reasons.

By Jan Goss

You know you deserve a fun night out during the holiday season, so why the dread? Let’s see, you take inventory of who will be there, how exciting or boring you anticipate the night will be and how you think you compare with others who are attending. We all want to be remembered. This holiday season, I am here to ensure that you are remembered for the right reasons. It is time to tackle holiday fears and put your best foot forward, hopefully in some really great shoes!

Below are three simple steps to help build your confidence and guarantee that you are remembered with respect long after the holidays have passed.

Up Your Knowledge
Learn the protocol for mixing and mingling. Here are three secrets of the pros to get you started:

  • Keep your right hand available if possible. Shift all your belongings to the left before you enter the door. Place your purse on your left shoulder or in your left hand. When offered a drink, hold it with your left hand. This leaves your right hand available for greeting people with a handshake.
  • It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you are unsure of what to wear, dress up, not down. It is better to stand out in the crowd because you look lovely than because you have poor taste. When in doubt, make a phone call to the host prior to the event. It is perfectly fine to call and ask what attire is appropriate.
  • It is your duty to introduce yourself. Don’t wait for other people to make the first move. Be willing to smile and extend your hand to connect with others. Who knows what relationships you may build as a result?

Slow down
Take a breath, for goodness’ sake. It is time for a tempo change and you have the power. Excuse yourself from gossip or negative people. Keep conversations upbeat. Avoid topics such as politics, religion and health or diet habits. Relax and remember you are there to have fun and enjoy yourself. You deserve it.

Learn How to Break into a Group
Have you ever wondered how that person who mixes so easily does it? There really is a method the pros use to mix and mingle. You can learn it, too. Here are the rules. However, each situation will be a little different. Use good judgment. Up your awareness with these helpful steps:

  • Look for groups of three or more. A group of two may be involved in an intense or private conversation.
  • Be sure your hands are at your side. Don’t cross your hands in front or in back of your body. Have an open body position as you approach the group.
  • Smile. When we get nervous, our facial expressions can be less than welcoming. remember to smile.
  • Stand about three feet from the group. The group will sense your presence. When someone makes eye contact with you, acknowledge him or her. This will break the group, allowing you an entrance.
  • Say hello, introduce yourself and acknowledge every person in the group. Use eye contact, a smile and a nod of your head, at the very least.

Please do not go down in corporate history as the one who drank too much or arrived underdressed to a holiday event. Set your intention for this to be your best holiday season yet and you are on your way to being remembered for all the right reasons.

Jan Goss, founder Civility Consulting Developing confident, courteous professionals Professional etiquette consultant specializing in professional business etiquette and first-impression management.