Monday, December 8, 2008

Making Office Holiday Parties Pay Big Off With Small Talk

Making Office Holiday Parties Pay Big Off With Small Talk

Networking at an office party with your peers can pay off with better working relationships, increased opportunities to move up in your company and make more new friends.

However, if you are like a lot of people in today’s large offices, you may not know many of the people who work on the same floor as you, only nod to those you pass in the hall, or silently ride in the elevator with them each day. Attending the holiday office party gives you permission to breakthrough that invisible barrier that often separates people at work and say hello, start a conversation, discover mutual interests and, hopefully, help one another, either directly or indirectly, achieve your goals.

Holiday office parties with clients provide even greater opportunities for meeting new prospects and deepening existing relationships. During the holiday party you can sincerely express your gratitude for your client’s business, chat about his or her future and discuss business challenges and projects for the coming year. Capitalize on your client’s holiday spirit and if you truly have provided value to your client over the past year, consider asking him or her for a referral, testimonial or advice about a particular goal or activity you wish to pursue.

While holiday office parties have a huge potential for achieving your networking goals, bear in mind that they are not social events, but rather slightly less formal business functions that follow the basic rules of business etiquette. In other words, never do or say anything at a holiday office party that you wouldn’t want your mother to know about or that you might have to apologize for the next day. In addition, although many people enjoy socializing at the holiday office party, most shy coworkers and clients generally dread having to attend this annual function, and are often only there out of obligation. Plus, there are some people, for one reason or another, that simply do not enjoy the holiday season. To effectively network with these people, keep your conversation light and low key so you can put them at ease as quickly as possible.

Topics that Most Networkers Like to Talk About at Office Holiday Parties

vacation plans, personal goals, projects, resolutions, family reunions, holiday and religious celebrations, food, music, sports and entertainment, past and future business projects, home renovations, unique gifts and charities, ways to celebrate

Taboo Topics in Office Parties

 gory crimes  war  political corruption  pollution  poverty  medical problems
 personal, money, family, job problems  sad stories  office gossip  poor management decisions  past over indulgences  pressuring bosses for a promotion or raise  hard-selling your side business products or services

If you have any questions, please contact me at 718-768-0824 or For more information about how I can help you connect with people at home, work and everywhere in between, please visit my website at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Why I Think “Change” Should be the Name for the Obama’s New Puppy

First, President-Elect Obama promised to bring change to the White House. With a new puppy named "Change" he can deliver on his campaign pledge right away without spending a bundle, especially if his family adopts a puppy from a shelter, in which case its nickname could be “Spare Change.” Spare or otherwise, with "Change" running around in the White House, the pup will always remind the winning Democrat why voters put him there in the first place and that retreating to the old ways of Washington will only come back to bite him. And speaking of biting, when the little yapper gnaws on an electrical cord or some other equally tantalizing, yet taboo item, that'll be a warning for our nation’s new leader not to bite off more than he can chew, or he may be in for a nasty shock. And finally, of course, presidential pups of all breeds are prone to pee everywhere until they are paper-trained and then taken out into the Rose Garden to do their business. This call of nature illustrates one of the most important lessons in government for President Obama, particularly since his astronomically expensive agenda is not filibuster-proof: If you are going to piddle on the Republicans, it’s better not to do it in the House.

Now that is “Change” I can believe in.

Don Gabor

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

3 Things You Must Immediately Do When a Relative Picks a Fight with You This Thanksgiving

No doubt about it –– there’s going to be some political fireworks between relatives this Thanksgiving. For those people whose candidates won, unbridled gloating will come especially easy. For the losers, predictions of doom and gloom will precede charges of cheating, voter fraud and –– if things get out of hand like they have a habit of doing after a few glasses of wine –– a litany of attacks on you, your candidate and the winning party.

Here are 3 things you must immediately do when your sore loser relative throws down the gauntlet.

1. Don’t react. Do nothing. Say nothing. Keep your face absolutely blank. This infuriates sore losers since their goal is to get you into an argument so they can vent their anger and prove to you that your vote was a horrible mistake.

2. Stay silent and give your relative your best-befuddled look as you shift your gaze upwards and shake your head from side to side. This body language says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” This will drive them to distraction since they can’t fight with you if you don’t respond to their arguments.

3. Finally, let a big grin spread over your face as you let these honey-drenched words slip from your lips: “Well, you know what they always used to say in Brooklyn when the Dodgers lost? Wait’ll next year!” Then with toothy grin, change the topic to something completely unrelated to politics. Exasperated, your frustrated cantankerous relative will probably give up and go try to pick a fight with someone else. What a turkey!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Avoid Tactless Comments at Wedding Receptions

Don’t be a Boor! Avoid these 10 Tactless Comments at
Wedding Receptions

Now is the time to sharpen your conversational skills so you can mingle with poise and confidence at upcoming wedding receptions. It's easy to be good at small talk and avoid being a boor. Before you go to the wedding reception, take a minute and consider topics you are willing to discuss with the other guests. Keep them light, fun and upbeat! Of course, since you never know who you might be talking to, NEVER SAY:

1. "I hope this marriage lasts longer than his/her last one."
2. "If you ask me, they're making a big mistake."
3. "This will be the happiest day of their lives."
4. "His/her ex- was a lot better looking and had more money, too!"
5. "This food isn't as good as the food at the last wedding I went to."
6. "I hate cheap champagne. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers!"
7. "I bet this wedding and reception cost a bundle. How can they afford it?"
8. "I wonder if she is ... well you know ...."
9. "When it comes to choosing a spouse, he/she could have done better."
10. "No doubt about it — she/he married him/her for the money."

What are the most tactless things you’ve heard people say at a wedding reception?

For free conversation sheets, visit

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Avoid Political Blow-ups at Memorial Day BBQs

Talking Politics at Memorial Day BBQs?

If you're like lots of people this weekend, you'll be talking politics at BBQs. But are you persuading your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors that your favorite candidate is the best choice or are you simply offending -- or even worse -- making political enemies? When you hear an opinion with which you disagree, instead of getting into a political argument, use one of these "escape lines" and avoid a blow-up:

1. "I have a different view of the situation."
2. "Let's agree to disagree."
3. “I don’t think this is the time or place to get into a political argument.”
4. "I think we more or less agree on the goals, it's our ways of getting there are different."
5. "Our views probably have more in common than you might think."
6. "I agree with some of what you say."
7. "My experience is different than what you describe."
8. "I'm not coming from the same place as you."
9. "I see your point."
10. "I don't agree with you, but I forgive you anyway."(with a smile)

Please write me your experiences or questions about discussing politics at parties this weekend.

-- Don Gabor

Please visit my website at