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Leave after-work parties with your reputation intact

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amny

Company-sanctioned after-work parties are a frequent occurrence and a great way to build camaraderie, celebrate big milestones, and build relationships with clients. How you handle yourself in these situations can significantly impact your career. Here are six tips to make the most of these occasions:

Dress appropriately

If team-building-type activities are planned, more casual dress may be appropriate. Big celebrations might call for cocktail attire. When in doubt, a safe bet is to stick with business attire. This is one occasion you might not want to “stand out” for your looks.

Be prompt

This is not the time to be fashionably late, as it shows a complete lack of respect for everyone else’s time. And arriving late because you were tied up with an assignment will not show your dedication. Rather, it will show that you don’t know how to properly manage your time.

Be conscious of food choices

Just because this meal is on the company dime does not mean you should order the most expensive item. Instead, select an entrée that is middle of the road in price point. Also consider those in your party before ordering. If the person next to you is a vegetarian, a bloody steak in their face may not be the best way to build a rapport with them.

Engage new people in conversation

Keep the tone of the conversation professional, but don’t just talk about work either. Stick to topics like family, interests or current events to help you understand each other as individuals, which can lead to greater trust. Just be sure to stay away from politics and religion.

Mind your booze and cues

Social drinking is fine, but limit your consumption. If everyone is ordering cocktails, feel free to join in and order one or two, if you like. If no one is ordering drinks, it may not be appropriate to do so. If you prefer not to drink but want to appear “social,” you can always order club soda and lime. No one will ever know.

Don’t overstay your welcome

Rushing out the door might give the impression you are anti-social, but lingering too long can also be a problem. Look for logical exit points, such as when the formal events are winding down or when the majority of people begin to leave.

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