Polish Your Holiday Networking Skills
Office parties. Neighborhood open houses. Country club dances. Festive chamber of commerce after hours. Professional organizational luncheons
and dinners. From Thanksgiving through Jan. 1, these events have a much more social than business air, even though your membership may be
business-based. So is it okay to network, and, if so, how much?
The answer is a definite “yes” and, in most cases, “differently and in moderation” also apply.
·	Be subtler. Start conversations with small talk about the holidays, the surroundings, the weather, etc., rather than with “What do you do?” Be ready
to reciprocate with similar topics. Have your Verbal Business Card in your back pocket just in case you need it.
·	Look and act professional. People still decide 10 things about you within 10 seconds of seeing you and will carry that impression with them into the
boardroom or onto the telephone. Specifics include:
o	Don’t overeat or over drink. Moderation is the key, and you know your limits. Don’t overfill your “little” plate. Snacking ahead of time can curb your
appetite at the event. Keep cold drinks out of your right hand. Ice and condensation will likely make it feel cold and moist. Using your left hand is a
far better solution than wrapping a napkin around the glass. If seating is available, sit down for a few minutes to eat. When you rise again, your hands
will be free. And, don’t forget to wash them before you start shaking again!
o	Don’t tell off-color jokes or use crude language just because the atmosphere is more relaxed. Such behavior offends most people, including
coworkers, their spouses, partners and families who can carry a lot of weight.
o	Dress properly for the occasion. Find out ahead of time the appropriate dress for men and women. And, women, don’t show excessive cleavage if
you want to be taken seriously in the office or to use the event to lay the groundwork for future employment.
o	Remember the behavioral basics. Exhibit good posture. Shake hands fi