While parties are undoubtedly a time for socializing and “letting loose,” it doesn’t mean you should let all your manners go out the window. Knowing how to mingle with people at a party or other social function is the mark of a gracious guest who’s always invited back…
Not everyone is a social butterfly by nature, but don’t shy away from the conversation just because this form of communication isn’t innate. Understanding the basic principles of party etiquette can help you socialize better at any gathering, whether the social occasion is a dinner party or
an office event.
With the following party etiquette tips and a dose of confidence, you can be mixing and mingling in no time, whether you are attending a formal cocktail party or a kid’s birthday bash, there are a few unwritten etiquette rules all party-goers should abide:
Decode the Dress Code – Party guests should dress appropriately for the occasion, whether formal (tuxedos and dresses) or casual (anything goes). Not sure what to wear? It’s never inappropriate
to directly ask the host or when in doubt, remember it’s typically better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Be Punctual – For certain casual events (such as open houses where guests freely come and go), punctuality is not much of an issue. However, for more formal events (like dinner parties), guests should arrive within fifteen minutes of the time specified on the invite.
Avoid Showing Up Early – By the same token, make sure you don’t show up too early; as the host hastily takes care of last-minute preparations, you are likely to become more of a hindrance than a help.
Don’t Bring Along the Uninvited – It’s considered extremely rude to show up with an uninvited guest in town, so only bring a guest if the invitation requests you to do so.
Say Hello to all – Seek out the host of the party to say hello within ten minutes of your arrival. Also, don’t be shy! Be co
urteous and say hello to other guests while mingling.
Arrive Bearing Gifts – It may seem a bit old-fashioned, but it’s never inappropriate to bring something for the host. Not only does it help offset the cost of the party, a gift illustrates your appreciation for being invited.
Generally speaking, the more lavish and elaborate the party, the nicer the gift. If the event is something casual, like a barbeque, bring food or drinks to share – just be sure you find out what is being served first so you don’t upstage the host. If the party is more formal, a bottle of wine, flowers, or gourmet treats (e.g. chocolates) are appropriate. Don’t forget to attach a small note or tag to indicate whom the gift is from – you don’t want your gift to remain anonymous!
Keep Conversation Light – Party conversations should be kept light and casual. Avoid weighty subjects including marriage, religion and serious politics. In a similar vein, avoid gossiping, especially about other party guests. Chances are, word will spread and you could be finger-pointed as the source.
Plan Your Exit – If an invitation lists a specific end time, don’t linger much longer – you don’t want to overstay your welcome! If no end time is listed, monitor the other guests and when about half are gone, you should get ready to leave as well.
Give Proper Thanks – Always thank the host or hostess for throwing a great party before you leave. For more formal events, send a thank-you note within one week of the party.
While practicing good party etiquette is a sign of good manners and courteousness for your host, there is also a more selfish reason to be on your best party behavior: it ensures there will be plenty of more party invites to come!
( International Trainer, Motivator & Coach
Edexcel Level – 4 Btec Professional Award ( UK)
ITOL Diploma in Coaching Excellence (UK) )