Offer a Memorable Handshake - Always offer a proper handshake when you greet someone and then again when you close a conversation. A firm but not aggressive handshake is appropriate for both men and women. Strive to be the first to extend your hand as a gesture of respect to the other person.
Mix and Mingle - Upon arrival, it is appropriate to greet the host of the event, acknowledge those you know and introduce yourself to others you do not know or do not know well. Spend 6 to 8 minutes in light conversation and excuse yourself with a handshake and continue to mingle with other guests.
Holding a Drink - Carry your beverage in your left hand in anticipation of shaking hands with fellow guests. A cold and clammy handshake from a cold drink does not present a good first impression.
Do Not Overindulge - A successful event has little to do with how much you eat. Your primary goal is to meet new contacts and strengthen relationships with those you already know. Spend little time grazing the buffet table or ordering alcohol from the bar. Moderation is the key. Opt for a soft drink or water rather than wine or a mixed drink.
Less is Best - Just as liquor should be limited, so should heavy perfume, excessive jewelry, facial hair and tattoos.
A Conversation Requires Closure - A pleasant “goodbye” is mandatory. Always end a conversation by saying something similar to “It was nice to see you.” Never say, “Let’s get together soon” unless you intend to follow through.
Skip the Men’s Black Suit - A basic black suit is not a universally flattering color. Consult with a professional that will give you honest feedback on the color of suit that is most flattering for your color, size and height. Consider navy, slate or dark grey while avoiding brown as a color choice.
Hand Out Business Cards with Discretion - Refrain from handing out business cards in the same manner you would offer free ice cream coupons. Concentrate on making a favorable impression and rely on a business card for reinforcement.
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By Diane Gottsman
Diane is a nationally recognized etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in corporate etiquette training. Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianegottsman or contact her at http://www.protocolschooloftexas.com/