handshake‘Tis the time of year to be social! And as we write this we must say, happy Friday one and all!

Okay, back to this regularly scheduled program…if you’ve been working the room this month, good for you! Chances are, since you’re a savvy Mediabistro reader, you’ve been working it, circulating that business card and chatting it up like it’s nobody’s business.

According to a piece by Monster, although there are a several ways to rock it (especially when you follow up to keep the conversation going), there are a few ways to completely bomb an event.

Let’s not be that guy or gal, okay? Sure, we know you shouldn’t drink to excess but there are a few subtle things to avoid doing.

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t drink too much or hit on your fellow attendees, there are other, less-obvious things you should avoid doing at professional social events.

1. Arrive feeling lost. Do you have a mission in mind? If you don’t have a goal, the piece says you won’t know when a useful contact has been made. As you listen to people and see what they have to offer, be sure to ask good questions. Collect information and see what can be valuable.

2. Be a networking freeloader. We completely get this. If someone says they’re a financial planner, please don’t ask them for free advice. Although yes, it could be deemed as small talk, you’re asking for free information.

So if you’re talking to an accountant, financial planner, doctor or lawyer, let’s assume they have a closed for business sign above their heads. The piece recommends exchanging contact information and scheduling a follow up meeting. And at that meeting, if you truly have questions, get prepared to pay for their services.

3. Take photos without permission. In this Instagram age, anything goes, right? If you’re out and about you may feel comfortable taking a photo of this or a photo of that but the piece says to always ask first. Considering it could be viewed as an invasion of privacy, ask the person first and then also mention if you plan to use it publicly.

4. Be lazy. We know this isn’t you but it could be useful for a friend or a friend of a friend — please work it! The piece points out, “Make time to make a real connection with people during the social event, instead of just throwing your business card at everyone you can and moving on.”

Leverage conversations for just that — conversations. Instead of mentioning your title and then quickly distributing your business card, feel free to go into detail, share your passion, your mission, your goals.