Office parties, private club events, civic galas, friends and family dinners: ‘Tis the season for a wide variety of holiday invitations to both personal and professional gatherings. To be clear, “rock stars” are the mindful, sharp, leadership-oriented people that everyone in the room would like to meet — or potentially work with. Here are six tips for creating stellar holiday experiences everywhere you go:
- Bring a bottle of something spectacular. If you don’t know your host’s personal favorite, work your magic to acquire the intel. Fine bottles of wine, champagne, or spirits are a memorable gift that sets the tone for you as a guest attending any gathering. Exclusive bottles may cost a few bucks more than everyday purchases, yet the sincerity and gesture are worth the splurge. (It goes without saying that rock stars also celebrate responsibly, with all eyes on the safety of others.)
- Dress well for each occasion. Not only does dressing well honor your company, your host and yourself, but you will likely end up on Facebook one way or another. Rock stars always dress sharply, make society page editors proud and look impressive on social media.
- Speak positively at all times. Politics, religion, and taxes are topics that rarely lead to smiles. Rock stars keep conversations positive, maintain healthy subject matter and steer conversations to focus on others. Mutual goals, new commitments, exciting travel and activity plans, a new business, or how well friends and family are doing — these ideas usually lead to smiles. Everyone loves smiling, especially rock stars.
- Eat. Nothing hurts a host’s feelings more than having their guests not eat what they’ve served. Don’t be shy. Encourage everyone to enjoy. Low blood sugar is anti-rock star.
- Be “that guy or gal” who works a last-minute miracle for the host. One secret every host keeps in reserve is a rock star backup — someone poised and ready to handle the inevitable last-minute contingency. Low on ice, two guests are vegan, Christmas lights burn out — you get the idea. Rock stars acquire and install solutions quickly and quietly.
- Send thank-you notes. In Charleston, S.C., and Washington, D.C., everyone entertains, attends dinner parties and socializes via “old school” engraved or letterpress invitations. Old-school manners and etiquette are worth more to relationships than any gold, especially if coworker and associate families are involved. If you send a hand-written thank-you using fine stationery, you will be remembered as an elegant and mindful rock star this holiday season, and someone to connect with in 2013.
Baron Christopher Hanson is the principal and lead strategist at RedBaron Advisors in Charleston, S.C., and Palm Beach, Fla. A former rugby player, Harvard graduate, and expert on workplace and small-business turnarounds, Hanson has written for Harvard Business Review and SmartBrief considerably. He can be reached for consulting roles and speaking gigs via e-mail or over Twitter @RBC_ThinkTank.