AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ Do some research: Knowing ahead of time who will be at the party is useful. You might even be able to create a list of people whom you want to seek out. If the party is a gathering of members of an organization, team or association, you can ask the organizers for a list of attendees. If it’s a private social party, you’ll need to try to gather the list yourself. This can be done fairly easily if you receive an invitation via e-mail. Unless the host chooses to make the guest list confidential, you’ll have access to all of the invitees – or at least their e-mail addresses. You might not be able to identify everyone on the list, but if they use their name for their e-mail address or use a company e-mail address, you’ll get some clues. Do some research on the companies, and then Google or do a MySpace search of the names. If you receive an invitation via mail, your only option is to contact the host or hostess and find out if he or she would be willing to share the guest list with you. Be fashionably early: Arriving on the early side will give you many advantages. If you are there as people arrive, for example, you will be able to hear the host or hostess greet them with their names. They might even say something along the lines of, “How did the game go today?” or “How has work been going?” giving you fodder for conversation. Between now and Jan. 2, you’ll no doubt celebrate the holidays at a number of parties – some business-related. While you’re tasting the hors d’oeuvres and sipping the fine cocktails, don’t forget to also professionally network. Social events such as holiday parties present excellent opportunities to meet people who could influence your career. Here are a few party networking tips: Arriving early also enables you to spend some time with the host or hostess before he or she is bombarded by other guests. Let him or her know who you might be interested in meeting, and ask for an introduction. Work the room: Remember that this is a social event and keep the conversation social. Try to find a reason to get business cards. If someone mentions he’s planning a trip to New Orleans, for example, tell him you have a friend from there who can suggest some great restaurants. Get his card so you can e-mail him later. The key is to mix and mingle, and to gather information. But don’t be a hard sell. This isn’t the place for it. Make the contacts now; follow up with them later. Dawn Anfuso is a Southern California-based business writer and former managing editor of Workforce magazine. If you have workplace or job-search questions, e-mail Dawn at [email protected] Writers will remain anonymous.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!