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Advice for Holiday Cards

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  • | 8:02 p.m. December 17, 2009
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Ordering your holiday cards this month? Before you make that costly purchase, be sure to think about the impression you want to leave with those receiving them. The family holiday card will most likely look a whole lot different from the office holiday card. Be mindful of your choices. This is a great time to express how much you care about your friends and clients. Just as if you were preparing a speech, know your audience.

Be careful, when planning your office holiday card, about considering your clients as good friends and sending them comical, sexual, or outrageous greetings; this is a very risky business choice.

You may be bored with the same old boxed card with the company logo “Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season,” but there is another choice: your local store does it, your neighbors do it, and you probably do, too. The department stores bedeck display windows with bright colored ribbons, ornaments, and the newest high fashions. We add fresh flowers and clean mulch to our landscaping to perk up our homes. We may even pick up a fabulous holiday outfit so that we look sharper, more elegant, and memorable for the holidays. Why not take your professional office image up a notch during this season as well?

First ask yourself, “What is my company's professional image?” Then ask “How do we want to be remembered?” The answer to these two questions will help determine what your office holiday greeting should look like. Thankfully, we have several fine stationery stores with experts willing and able to help you with your decisions.

Which holiday card design is the best fit for your company? Your professional image is so much more than what you wear to work or how you part your hair. Consider this; do you really want to let the cute sun drenched beach scene with the bronzed buffed surfer represent your business? Unless your business is tanning products or personal training you may want to reconsider. Instead look for high quality paper, embossed cards, and foil-lined envelopes. Be sure to thank your clients for their loyalty and include a brief message for continued success in the New Year. A personal note is always appreciated, even if it's a brief, “Please, give my best to Sally.”

Office Party Faux Pas
Have you ever shown up at the annual holiday party wearing blue jeans only to discover that your brand new $200.00 designer pants look completely out of place among the sequined cocktail dresses and bejeweled necklines?

Perhaps you've popped what you thought was a pitless olive in your mouth only to discover it was not. There were never any pits in the olives in your martini. Now what do you do? Don't get caught unaware.

Here are some basic points for the office holiday party.

• Check the dress code before you go. If you're not sure what “Holiday Cocktail” means, check in with your etiquette consultant or talk to one of your trusted co-workers who attended last year's event.

• Eat and drink with your left hand thereby keeping your right hand clean and free to shake hands when you thank your boss for the wonderful party and wish everyone a happy holiday season.

• Remove the swizzle straw. Nothing looks more ridiculous than a grown man in a business suit intently searching with his tongue for that illusive straw. Although memorable, it's just not pretty.

• Sip, don't guzzle. Nobody likes drunks. And everybody remembers them.

• Use your napkin. Remember that olive pit. Need I say more?

• A cocktail party is designed for mingling with light refreshments. Just because it's free food doesn't mean you should make a meal out of the canapes and shrimp.

• If spouses are invited, be sure to introduce them. Spouses, remember that you represent your partner's ability to make wise decisions. Leaving a good impression on the boss can affect your spouse's professional future.

• Keep conversation friendly, not formal, and certainly not about business.

• Most importantly, smile and enjoy the opportunity to get to know your co-workers better. Maybe you'll learn something new and exciting that you can experience on your next vacation.

• If this year's party includes a sit down meal, be sure to brush up on your dining etiquette before attending. This holiday season be remembered for all the right reasons.

Patricia Persson, an executive etiquette consultant, owns Bradenton-based Persson to Person Executive Etiquette.


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