Office Party: Career Catapult or Career Killer?

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<p><strong>New York &mdash; Nov. 13</strong><br />The festive landscape has changed over the years, and it presents some new challenges to even the most seasoned partygoer. &ldquo;It is still advisable to curb your drinking and hold the glass in your left hand,&rdquo; said founder Robert Graber, &ldquo;but you should also remember to mute your BlackBerry and iPhone as well.&rdquo;<br /><br />Graber suggested thinking of the holiday party as a networking event but with better food and a more focused guest list. <br /><br />&ldquo;Make it a point to introduce yourself to people in your company you would like to get to know better and engage in some light conversation. Don&rsquo;t use the moment to discuss complex corporate strategy, but you might mention how you have enjoyed your role in the firm and your excitement about the coming year,&rdquo; said Graber. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t spend a lot of time with any one person. Politely excuse yourself after a few minutes with best wishes for the holidays and move on.&rdquo;<br /><br />Graber had some other holiday party advice:<br />&bull;    Hold your drink in your left hand. (Your right hand stays dry and warm for handshakes.)<br />&bull;    Don&rsquo;t eat salty foods, which may make you drink more, and avoid messy, saucy offerings, which are hard to handle.<br />&bull;    Don&rsquo;t be the first to arrive, and don&rsquo;t be the last to go.<br />&bull;    Dress conservatively. Less is not more at an office event.<br />&bull;    Speak positively at all times. Don&rsquo;t bad-mouth anyone or anything, as you never know who might be listening. (Remember this advice in the elevator, in the coat check line and in the restroom.)<br />&bull;    No texting or e-mailing during a party.<br />&bull;    Thank your host before leaving.<br /><br />&ldquo;When handled correctly, holiday parties are wonderful opportunities to get to know your associates and management in a festive environment,&rdquo; said Graber. &ldquo;Balance your talking time with listening time to avoid coming across as pushy.&rdquo;<br /><br />And finally, Graber strongly advised even the most Scrooge-like individual not to skip the event. &ldquo;You will likely be more noticed negatively by not attending.&rdquo; </p>

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