It takes 30 seconds for someone to form an impression of you and 18 subsequent interactions for them to change it. And the number of subsequent interactions you need keeps increasing because of the sheer volume of information we all deal with. Make sure you’re sending the right message, especially as the holidays approach, by considering these tips:
Stay in Control – If you’re going to drink at parties, stay in control. Alternate an alcoholic drink with club soda and lime. It will look like a cocktail and keep you from over-imbibing. While you’ll be in a relaxed environment, be careful not to become so relaxed that you end up oversharing. Do not speak ill of past employers or coworkers—you never know who is connected to whom.
Dress Appropriately – Festive is good, naked is not. Remember, these are potential industry contacts who may have the ability to influence your long-term career. And if possible, wear something with pockets.
Minimize Juggling – Balancing snacks and beverages while you search for your business card can result in dry cleaning disasters. Remember those pockets? Use them. Put your business cards in there along with a pen. If someone doesn’t have a card with them, jot down their info or use your smartphone to keep their contact information for future follow-up.
By planning ahead, you can avert a major career faux pas and focus on having a good time while celebrating.