Thursday, November 25, 2010

Make Holiday Parties Profitable

Holiday office parties can be fun and even profitable, but they can also be deadly for your career if you don't watch what you say--or don't say!

1. THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE? Thinking the office party is a social event where you can let down your hair and let it all hang out. Nothing can ruin a budding or even established career faster than cutting lose at the holiday party in a way that keeps your coworkers saying for weeks, "Can you believe what ...said to the party?"

2. MOST COMMON PARTY ETIQUETTE MISTAKE? Who should extend the hand first, the man or the woman? 50+ year-old etiquette said the man should wait for the woman to offer her hand, but today either the man or woman can take the initiative to shake hands. My advice is to extend your hand at the moment of introduction no matter who you meet.

Other mistakes to avoid:

3. Only chatting with your officemates. This comes off as being cliquish and uninterested in others.

4. Waiting for others to approach you. This makes you appear unapproachable and unfriendly.

5. Revealing too much personal information about problems at home, work or in relationships. This instantly translates to needy and insecure.

6. Only talking about yourself. This is the fastest way to bore others to tears!

7. Complain about your boss, company or coworkers. It may be well-deserved, but never "bite the hand that feeds you."

8. Getting "too friendly" with a coworker during the office party. This suggests that you don't understand boundaries and will quickly turn you into a workplace pariah.

Don Gabor is a communications trainer and the author of seven other books including the best-seller, How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends. He was a spokesperson for Grand Marnier, Sprint and Frito-Lay. His books have been featured in NY Newsday, NY Times, Daily News, Men's Health, Entrepreneur, Success, Investor's Daily and many other national and trade magazines, plus his book was featured on "60 Minutes with Andy Rooney" and on many other TV and radio programs. The New Yorker called Don, "a gifted conversationalist."