Over the next 30 days you will most likely go to more social events than you do in the other eleven months of the year. If you are like most people, you find yourself stewing over what to wear and how to act. There can be so much confusion over dress code definitions (i.e. "Business Social") to the right thing to do when it comes to gift buying - for everything from gifts for your boss to hostess gift dilemmas. Whether your event is business or personal, follow these tips to ensure your holidays are stress and faux pas free. Enjoy the season!
|Do Dress Appropriately - Holiday parties are special, dress 1-2 levels above what you would normally wear to this type of event. For men, if you would normally wear jeans and a polo shirt, wear dress jeans or slacks, nice leather or suede shoes, a long sleeve shirt, and to really impress throw on a sport coat. If the occasion calls for a suit, step up the tie and shirt selection - solids or small patterns are always more elegant. For women; this is the time to shine, pull out your glitters and sparkles. If you would normally wear basic slacks and a blouse, select velvet or satin pants and add a sparkly camisole top, shrug or sweater. If the event is more formal, step up the evening attire with metallic shoes, fun small handbags, faux furs, and dangle earrings.
If your function is business, remember a little modesty can help you go far. This is not the time to show the twins or wear your shortest dress.
|Don't Bring Uninvited Guests - Unless you ask the host ahead of time, do not bring an uninvited guest. Last year I was invited to a business party on a Saturday night. Because I am single they did not include "a guest" on the invitation. I knew 99% of the guests would come as a couple, so I called and asked if I could bring a guest and they graciously said yes. The situation is very different when it comes to children. If children are not included on the invitation, the host probably wants to enjoy an adult only affair - don't call and ask to bring your kids.|
|Hostess Gift - If you are not asked to bring a dish to the party, do bring a hostess gift. A few gift ideas include personalized napkins, beautiful notecards, gourmet salts, special vinegars or oils or any favorite treats you know they enjoy. For most, a bottle of wine is also very nice if you know they drink alcohol. (Note: Do not bring fresh flowers that need to be arranged, the hostess has enough to do without having to find a vase.)
|Buy A Gift For Your Boss: It Depends - The majority of the time, it is not expected or appropriate to buy a gift for your boss. It can appear as "kissing up". Organizing a group gift with other workers is nice, as long as it is not too expensive.|
|Buy Gifts for Your Staff: It Depends - This is entirely up to you, and the status of your company's success. If you just laid-off workers or did not give traditional bonuses, it would not be appropriate to spend money on gifts for your staff. If the company is doing well, gifts are a great way to show your appreciation. Be consistent and give the same gift to everyone. Know your staff - most prefer gift certificates or money. Giving a gift they view as a waste of money (clock with the company logo), will not win you any favors.|
|Don't Apologize - If someone gives you an unexpected gift, simply say "thank you". Do not apologize all over yourself, simply remember to get them something the next year.|
|Meet and Greet - When you find yourself at a party where you don't know many people, it is gracious to mingle properly. Remember, there is a difference between including yourself vs. intruding on people. It is always best to approach groups of three or more. Once they engage you in eye contact, this is your signal to join in and introduce yourself and your guest. Please, when you are talking with someone, do not allow your eyes to dart around the room!|
|Say "Goodbye" - Be sensitive to your host, they have many guests to talk with and you do not want to monopolize their time. Make it easy for them to move on by saying, "I have enjoyed talking with you, I know you need to mingle".|
Kay Hunter is a personal image coach and corporate trainer, specializing in complete makeovers, business and dining etiquette, and is the President of Imagine...The Possibilities in Orange County. She has transformed hundreds of clients into more successful and confident professionals.
Kay can be contacted at (714) 665-8866, email@example.com, www.kayhunter.info .