The key to success when attending any office function or event is preparation and planning. Part one listed four etiquette guidelines. The following are the remaining tips:
* Buffets — Along similar lines such as eating and drinking moderately, avoid looking like a chowhound if the event involves a help-yourself buffet. You can go back again, but but don’t stack your plate so high that you need help. If the entire table is going through the buffet line, try to start at the same time. Start eating when at least two or three people have returned to the table.
* Party gifts — You should always bring a gift when invited to someone’s home for the holidays, or any time of the year. The exception to this rule is if you have a weekly or monthly get together. Bring something that you know the host and hostess would enjoy. If you are not familiar with their home or decor, stay on the safe side with a bottle of wine (if they drink!) , candles, or a small non-personal gift.
* Gift giving at the office – Holiday gift giving can be tricky with various celebrations and religious beliefs. A nice card showing appreciation is always welcome – or give something homemade, like cookies. Another nice gesture is to get your co-workers to chip in together on a gift. Respect other traditions and religious beliefs. It doesn’t mean you have to exclude people from holiday parties and gift giving, but give them the option whether they want to participate.
* Client gift giving — Be careful here, too. Your intention should be a gift they will enjoy and appreciate, not a lavish or outrageous gift that will “outdo” the competition. The gift should be sent to the office, and it should be business appropriate.
The morale of the story – always be on your best behavior, no matter what the situation. Understanding the proper ways to socialize will do more than build contacts – you just might make some of the most important connections of your career!
Colleen A. Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP, CPC, is a business etiquette expert and author of “Be on Your Best Business Behavior” and “Be on Your Best Cultural Behavior.” For more information, visit http://www.colleenrickenbacher.com.