Prevent Disaster at Your Next Office Holiday Party.

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It's that time of year again. The time for office parties and lots of food and drink. You need to remember that your behavior always matters.

It’s that time of year again. The time of holiday cheer with lots of office parties and lots of food and drink. The time to socialize with your co-workers, customers and bosses. It’s also the time when you start overhearing the whispers in the hall, “Did you see Tom dirty dancing at the party last night?” Or “I can’t believe she said that right in front of our CEO!”

People do and say all sorts of inappropriate things at office parties—like the sales woman who brought her dog to her manager’s holiday party at his home. The dog proceeded to do his business on the dining room rug! Or, the programmer who got drunk and had to be helped home by his co-workers. Or the administrative assistant who wore a very low cut blouse and very short skirt to her office party…the list goes on and on…

So with the holiday season fast approaching, how can you be sure you’re not the person who gets talked about after the next office party? “The first thing you need to do,” says Cherry Hill, NJ based communications expert Barbara Pachter, “is to remember that your behavior always matters. Just because you are out of the office doesn’t means that your behavior doesn’t count.”

Pachter, author of the book, “When The Little Things Count…And They Always Count:

: 601 Essential Things Everyone In Business Needs to Know” (Marlowe & Co., 2001), recommends that you view the holiday party as you would any other company event, like a business meeting. You need to attend, dress appropriately and stay sober. It is not the time to let it all hang out!

Pachter also suggests that you mingle. Talk to people you know and don’t know. Don’t just stay with your group. Go up to people, say hello, introduce yourself, shake hands. And watch your body language. Even if the party is dull, it’s bad manners to let others see how bored you are. Don’t frown, slouch, cross arms or yawn.

Barbara Pachter is the author of “The Power of Positive Confrontation” ($14.95 paperback, Marlowe & Co.). She is co-author of several books including the “Prentice Hall Complete Business Etiquette Handbook.” She is a speaker, trainer and coach specializing in business communications, business etiquette, and assertiveness issues. Her client list features major corporations and organizations worldwide, including NASA, Pfizer Inc., DaimlerChrysler, Merck & Co., Ernst & Young, and the University of Michigan.

Her latest book “The Jerk with the Cell Phone: A Survival Guide for the Rest of Us” (Marlowe & Co., 2004) was just published.

For a review copy of her new book, “The Jerk With the Cell Phone,” “When the Little Things

Count” or for a copy of “The Power of Positive Confrontation” contact Marlowe & Company,

Blanca Olivery: Blanca@avalonpub.com

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Barbara Pachter