Cocktail parties are high profile events that people love hosting. It is a great way to keep in touch with friends and acquaintance. It is also a great opportunity to develop new friendships that can potentially lead to professional relationships. Although free food and drinks can be found all over the place, cocktail parties are the best opportunities you can get to socialize with new people. However, these type of parties have an etiquette to follow, and it is important to follow it in order to leave a good impression on those that attend the party. Here are some of the most general rules to follow at any cocktail party:
Invitations and arrangements – As a host, it is important to always make plans depending on the number of guests on your list of invitees. Seating arrangements and appetizers are examples of things to plan along those lines. As an invitee, make sure to inform the host of the party whether you will be able to attend the invitation or not.
Showing up on time – Usually the time “starting” time of these type of parties are a time range rather than a set time. 30 minutes after the start time is a good time to arrive.
Follow the dress code – Do not try to just show off your clothes at the party. Follow the dress code the host has set. If you are not sure what the dress code is then just ask the host of the party.
Socializing – Always offer a handshake when meeting a new person. Offer genuine smiles. Give your name and ask for the other person’s name too. Remember these parties are made to meet and talk to people, so take advantage of it and make the most out of your time. Always be polite when retiring yourself from a conversation: When talking to a group of people, excuse yourself from everyone in the group. When talking to a single person, try to get them to meet others with you, if not, then you can walk off by yourself without feeling guilty. Be authentic when talking to others and as motivational speaker Jonathan Sprinkles said to me once “Always be interested rather than interesting”.
Eating – As a guest, always make sure you’re eating small portions. Make sure to eat small bites you can chew up quickly in order for the eating to not interrupt your conversations. Cocktail parties usually have waiters walking around with appetizers or a buffet to line up for.
Gossiping – Do not do it. Gossiping can show disrespect and can be misinterpreted by others. Keep your topics away from gossip. Cheap talk is not for these events. You want to learn more about other people and have them learn more about who you are, so make sure to stay away from those other topics.
Drinks – Alcohol will be present at almost every party, and drinking it is a regular activity at these parties. However, make sure to drink with moderation and away from your limits, to not embarrass yourself in front of others and to be safe in situations where you might have to drive home for example. When holding drinks, use your left hand to hold your drinks in order to always have your right hand available for handshakes and greetings. Familiarize yourself with the different types of glasses and how to hold them.
Saying goodbye – Do not sneak out. Always thank the host and say goodbye. This will show your appreciation for the invitation. Remember you got invited to the party because you are appreciated by the host, so make sure to keep up a good impression by maintaining discipline and good manners, which will also help you make new connections with people you did not know before!
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Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP
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