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Party in style

Here are some dos and don'ts to observe at a business party

— Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Away from the grind: How you conduct yourself at a get-together can make or mar your career.

BUSINESS INTERACTIONS are no longer confined to offices. After office hours, get-togethers are the norm. Whether it is an industry-related get-together or association meet or an internal office party, it has become more organised these days. The focus is on unwinding as well as widening one's social circle. When you are invited to one of these gatherings, there are certain dos and don'ts you need to keep in mind.

Avoid controversies

Don't get carried away by the informal, backslapping camaraderie of the event and let your hair down. Any unsavoury, eyebrow-raising incident will remain fresh in the minds of everyone present. The most amazing thing about the mind is that we remember the blunders of our fellow beings. This kind of communication travels with great efficiency! Those not present, most probably, will also be aware of your antics by the time you reach the office. From the list below, check the ones you are guilty of. Stop, desist and change your behaviour immediately; in all kindness to yourself and your career, because negative perceptions pop up when crucial decisions are being made for and about you.

Drinking too much and losing control over your behaviour tops the list. You might think everybody is letting his or her hair down and having a good time, it will not be noticed. Your slurred speech, glazed eyes and unsteady body language are a dead giveaway.

If your threshold is low, stick to one or two drinks at the most. Try and pack your drink with ice, which not only dilutes the alcohol but also helps you nurse it for a much longer time. Eat a little before you leave for the party. Another tip is to opt for non-carbonated mixes; instead of having scotch with soda, have it with water. These tricks will prevent the alcohol from hitting you too soon.

Don't stuff yourself as though you have been starving for days. This applies both for how much you pile on your plate, and how much you put in your mouth at a time. Exercise some elegance in your eating and some basic dining manners. Otherwise your boss might scratch you out of his list when he has to entertain those important clients.

Not going to any office get-together is as much a social sin as showing up and looking abjectly miserable. You are not accumulating any brownie points with your Peter Pan style of unwillingness to grow up and face social obligations.

I, me, myself. Yoo-hoo! If you didn't notice, there are other humans in this world and they are all around you. In this highly competitive world, one needs to blow one's trumpet, but not too loudly. The more self-centred you show yourself to be, the less you appear to be a team player, definitely not somebody who can nurture and maintain a team, as its leader.

Don't be a bore. This is not the time to discuss business or the pending projects or the upcoming appraisals. There is more to life than business. Relax, have a conversation about topics that are of interest. Come across as an intelligent, thoughtful, well read person. You can score great points with this.

Dress code

You want to wear your favourite T-shirt and sandals? Fair enough. But are you wearing clothes that befit the occasion where you respect yourself, your host and the scenario? A funky look could be cool but not for a business party, unless the dress code specifies that. Clothes make people — they are part of the impression you are creating about yourself. Choose appropriately.

Make your presence known to your host, boss, colleagues and subordinates. Be personable and approachable. Don't forget your thanks and compliments.

Now check whether you are guilty of any of these don'ts. Be honest with yourself and change your behaviour.

CHITRA S. DANGER

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