Page 16

Talk Smart at the

Holiday Office Party A

s a Toastmaster, you know that all speaking is public speaking – whether you are giving a Table Topics presentation at your local club or making small talk with colleagues and clients at the holiday office party. Of course, if an “ah” or “um” slips into one of your speeches, probably no one (except perhaps another Toastmaster) will ever know. However, make one of the following conversation faux pas at the holiday office party and your career and professional image could be headed for trouble. Here are the most common career-crunching mistakes:


Making inappropriate comments – even in jest Nothing can ruin a budding or even established career faster than, “letting your hair down,” in a way that keeps your colleagues whispering, “Can you believe what he said?” Using sexual innuendo or telling off-color jokes at the holiday work



December 2009

party is a sure-fire way to attract attention, but not the kind that will boost your career. This blunder can quickly send your prospects for advancement into a downward spiral. Never forget that the office party is a business – not social – situation, where most of the rules of business etiquette apply.


Not shaking hands when the opportunity presents itself If it is a part of your culture to shake hands when introducing yourself or greeting people you know, do you hesitate to extend

By Don Gabor

Stay clear of conversation faux pas that can derail your career. your hand when you meet a member of the opposite sex? You might be surprised, but plenty of people are confused about this critical part of introductions at office gatherings. Blame it on decades-old etiquette that instructed a gentleman to wait for a lady to extend her hand first, but that is as passé as a lady dropping a hankie to start a conversation with a handsome passerby! Today, not offering to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex will peg a man as sexist and a woman as unsure of herself. Therefore, at office celebrations and everywhere else, for that matter – excluding for religious, cultural or physical reasons – both men and women should take the initiative to shake hands with everyone they meet.

December 2009 toastmasters magazine  
December 2009 toastmasters magazine