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Thursday, December 22, 2011


Fight For Your Right To Party

Happy Holidays Everyone!  Taking a page out of Lindsay Lohan's party etiquette book may not be appropriate but I thought, what the hay, I'll gift a little wisdom to go along with my holiday greeting - you guys deserve it.

Now, I know, many of you will be celebrating and partaking in festivities that include attending parties which can breed temptation and misbehavior.  Not to worry, because this year CMG is providing you a Gentleman's (Woman's) Guide to Party & Self-Behavior, whether at a home or office holiday gathering.

1. Stay Away From Drunks - You of course, remain above the fray, but you may be confronted with inebriated friends, family, or acquaintances.
Best: remove yourself from their presence. Use the tried and true,"Oh, I hear my phone's ring tone. It must be Santa calling". Particularly in a business setting being "seen" with a drunk is never good for career advancement.

2. Kiss Up - Here's your opportunity to put a face to all of your memos, emails, and tweets - go for it!  A quick suck-up can go a long way in cementing your relationship with a higher up.  Have a game plan. Know before the party starts who your targets will be. Happy hunting.

3. No One Likes A Kill-Joy - Be sure not to gossip, gripe, or air your frustrations (business or personal - we all have them).  I know it can be difficult but you must demonstrate that upbeat and "can do" spirit. Here's where taking that Drama class finally comes in handy.  Complaining is natural to you, so fighting the urge to expunge may take some doing. Practice at being positive and remember, never philosophize or moralize - these are real downers.

4. Keep It Light - Small talk is the rule. Upcoming vacation, holiday plans, light-hearted topics are best. Stay away from politics, religion, and personal issues - no one cares anyway and you'll be cast as an opinionated and bigoted zealot.

5. Lay On The Charm - Your boss's significant other (and overseer) is numero uno on your charm list.  Give them special attention but don't over do it.  Strike up a conversation. Stay cool and don't spill your drink on them, and don't eat while your talking.

6. Watch What You Wear - Cleavage is touchy. Go with it or conceal? Best- reveal but tastefully.  Experiment with colors, never wear all black.  Go with bright colors or color accents - you want to be remembered but in a good way.  Worst mistake: the strapless dress. You look naked to the people sitting across from you at the table.

For you men-folk, What can I say - go with a more-than-normal (for you) festive look and never, never wear a Reindeer sweater or Santa hat.

7. Prep Your Party Partner - Even the best of back-slappers can be undermined by a drunk or obnoxious partner.  Prep your partner before hand.  Share info on the pecking order.  If a female, inform her of the cleavage rules, if male enforce the two punch bowl visit limit.  Tell them to smile and nod.  They are your surrogate and their behavior reflects on you.  Best: skip the partner and soldier-on solo.

8. Beware The Sweaty Right Hand - Parties and handshakes go - dare I say it - hand-in-hand.  You will be shaking a lot of hands.  Go easy.  Refrain from bear-hugs and don't go too Euro on the cheek kissing. Keep drinks or other objects in the left hand, a sweaty or wet shake is always frowned upon.  Have Purell at the ready, use it discreetly but often.

9. Show Appreciation - Thank the hosts before leaving even if you had a miserable time.  It's not their fault, given current economic conditions, that party expenditures have been pared.  Beer v. vodka, ChexMix v.canapes, spinach dip v. caviar, its all a sign of the times.  Show appreciation for the effort if not the substance.

10. The Follow-up - This is why you went in the first place.  Schmoozing, intro'ing yourself to the office hottie, making that cool but critical impression, cementing the connection.  Follow up with a short email and suggest a lunch or coffee date.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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