Invited to a cocktail party? No problem!

By its nature, a cocktail party is conducted over a short period with the objective for attendees to network.

As with most business functions, cocktail parties has its own set of rules or etiquette on how to conduct yourself within the social environment that has been created for you.

Use the guidelines below to allow you to attend any cocktail function with ease!

  1. Do not overload your plate!
    1. The main aim of a cocktail function is for you to talk and network with the other attendees.
    2. Food and drink are provided as a courtesy to the attendees. It is definitely not the focus of the event, else it would have been called a dinner!
    3. If you are a bit hungry, eat something before attending to avoid being seen as an ‘overloader,’ and denying other people a chance to nibble.


  1. If you standing up, do not try to eat and drink at the same time
    1. Some cocktail functions have tables to place your food and drink. If this is provided, it is fine to have both a plate of food and a beverage.
    2. If tables are not provided, you cannot be drinking and eating at the same time!
    3. Remember that you need to keep one hand free to meet people.
    4. This also means eating with utensils or with your left hand. Avoid holding a glass in your right-hand as you want to avoid the awkward wiping of your hands before shaking the hand of a fellow attendee!


  1. Mix & mingle
    1. The average time that you should spend per person is about 5-7 minutes.
    2. Cocktail functions are usually between half-an-hour to two hours.
    3. In order to meet as many people as possible, you need to watch the time you spend per person!
    4. This allows you to, ‘work the room.’


  1. Dealing with a ‘room-scanner!’
    1. It is bound to happen at some point to you!
    2. You are talking to someone whose attention is not focused on you, but rather is ‘scanning’ the room, potentially trying to locate someone else.
    3. If you find yourself in this situation, disengage from the conversation and let the person move on.
    4. Say something like, ‘Excuse me – I need to chat to someone else – It has been a pleasure meeting with you!”


  1. Remembering names:

                During a networking event, it might be difficult to remember names! Try the      following technique:

  1. Hear the name as the person is being introduced. (Make a comment on their name and create a mind association, example “Judy – I had a teacher named Judy!)
  2. See the name as you glance at their name-tag. (Entrench name)
  3. Say the name during the conversation and at the closing. (Get used to saying the name)
  4. Look at the name when the person hands their cards. (Further entrenches name)
  5. Review their cards at the end of the day. (Re-collect from memory)
  6. Write or type in the name in your organizer. (Further organization)


Cocktail parties are fun; entertaining and provide a valuable opportunity to network and promote yourself within a social and business environment.

Use the tips within this article to help you network within any cocktail event with ease and confidence!

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