Your manager just scheduled a team/client happy hour for Thursday. Now you have those “high school freshman going to the homecoming dance” feelings.
Will they like me? What if I say the wrong things?
Note: given that this readership is predominantly CPAs, statistics would say only about 1 in 10 of you went to high school dances
Below are 9 Tips for navigating a client happy hour
1. Master the basic introduction
- Stand up (although try not to be sitting in the first place – see #6)
- Firm handshake
- Eye contact
- Say your first and last name
2. Stay off your phone
No one wants to see your pictures, hear breaking news, or get an answer to the question from two conversations ago. Instead, be present.
3. Don’t dress like a schlub – How to: Dress Ok (for men)
- Ask questions of others – this takes the pressure off you to be interesting
- “One can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested in them.”
- Don’t one up people – no one cares about your intramural sports career, latest vacation, fantasy football team
- Take a genuine interest in others
5. Engage with everyone, not just the “important people”
6. Try to stand – Sitting limits the number of people you can interact
7. Don’t remind them you are a few years out of college – 7 Tips for Interacting with Boomers
8. Don’t be the drunkest person there
People might find a drunk person funny, but it almost never leads to credibility/trust
9. IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL IF YOU DON’T DRINK
- While you might feel uncomfortable, no one else finds it weird that you are not drinking
- Tip: still hold a drink (water, soda, etc) in your hand. This will make it so people don’t continue to offer to get you a drink