Awkward, inappropriate and ill-mannered conversations are meant to rock the boat. Encounters like these will make you ready to abandon ship and often leave you feeling drunk as a sailor.

What’s even worse is when you are held prisoner to this inappropriate dialogue which is heading for shipwreck because it is unfolding over a meal.

An interesting discussion usually makes the meal even more enjoyable, however even the best food can smell fishy when paired with unwanted dinner conversation.

Below are a few tactics that will keep you from being dead in the water when you feel like the titanic heading straight toward an iceberg of unfortunate conversation.

Know which way the wind blows

If someone asks you an inappropriate question, know the ropes and don’t take the bait.

Simply respond by saying “What an interesting question. I am going to need some time to think about that.”

Hook, line and sinker

Then, as quickly as you can, take the wind out of the sails and change the subject to something lighter- - - like how delicious the oyster appetizer looks.

Loose lips sink ships

If you can feel that the tone of the conversation will veer you off the straight and narrow guess what? You are the captain of this ship.

Quickly hold the topic at bay by linking to something said in a previous conversation.

Keep your head above water

It is always good etiquette to keep the response positive. Find something complimentary to say about the guest or topic.

Then, stay on course and begin moving full speed ahead.

Barge right in

You can also be more honest and answer with, “I really don’t want to dive right into the deep end … I just want to hear about you and what’s going on in your life.”

Rats abandon a sinking ship

Be ready to turn the tables and look for opportunities to engage in a conversation with someone else.

Sink or swim

If you sink you will end up with knots in your stomach.

If you swim, use humor as your lifeboat to steer the conversation into calmer seas.

Be ready to walk the plank

If the focus doesn’t change remember the restroom is a safe harbor. Kindly excuse yourself and take a few minutes to gather your thoughts.

Don’t let any conversation leave you high and dry. Throw caution to the winds and remember, a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

iStock_000014983738MediumHoliday season is officially underway, which means the hunt for the perfect present has begun. Shopping for presents can be stressful because of the large effort in trying to find the right gift for someone.

Here is a list of do's and don'ts for gift giving and receiving this holiday season.

Research: Do research on the person whom you are buying for. Find out their types of interests and what they enjoy. Even when buying a gift card it is important to make sure that you purchase a gift card from a store the person frequents.

Be Thoughtful: It's the thought that counts. Not everyone has a large budget and the ability to buy expensive presents. Keep in mind that no gift is too small.  Providing a thoughtful gift carries the most weight. When thinking about what to gift someone reflect on previous experiences and conversations with that person for ideas.

Don't Leave the Price Tag On: Always remember to take the price tag off. It is neither kosher nor important for a person to know how much you spent on their present. Include a gift receipt in case someone chooses to return or exchange the item.

Be Thankful: Always send a hand written thank you note for any gift you receive. Even if you have no use for a gift, it is important that you thank the person for their time and consideration. When Holiday Gift Givingsomeone takes the time to buy you a gift then you should take the time to show your appreciation.

Give Your Time:  A great gifting idea is donating your time to help someone. This is a personal gift that could mean a lot.  Run errands, babysit for the day or take a person to their doctors appointment.

Be Crafty:  This season try making a gift for someone. If you have a hobby such as knitting or floral arrangements, utilize those skills for creating a present for a person. There is nothing more special than a hand made or thoughtful gift.

Don't Gift Alcohol: Alcohol used to be one of the most common gifts given. Today, substance abuse problems are prevalent. Be careful when gifting alcohol, make sure you know the person and are not adding to a problem.

Happy Holidays!

Office Christmas PartyTis’ the season for holiday parties and events. Many companies show appreciation to their employees by hosting an office party. While business holiday events serve the purpose of allowing employees to kick back and relax, it is important to always remember these fun and simple guidelines.

Dress The Part

Follow the dress code outlined for a party. If it is cocktail attire then come dressed appropriately. Office parties are not the place to bring out your most revealing dress or blouse. Vice versa, if there is a theme to your office party then stay festive and keep to that theme. Don’t forget that even though this is a party, you still need to maintain a professional image. It is much harder to build up your reputation once some inappropriate action has taken place.

Keep The Drinking At A Minimum

Even though alcohol beverages are provided at the party, be aware of how much you drink. At the end of the day, you are at a party for… WORK. Your boss and other employees are still watching you. You don’t want to be the person who gets fired the day after your holiday party because you said or did something you regret.

Be Thankful

 Your company is not required to do anything during the holidays. Businesses give parties because they want to show their appreciation. As an employees, don’t forget to show your appreciation to the management and party planning committee. Thank people for hosting the occasion and providing food and drinks for everyone.

Be Prepared

Holiday events are a great opportunity to network and meet new colleagues, especially if you work for a large corporation. Before you attend the event, think about your ten questions that you can use as conversation starters when meeting new people. It is always better to be prepared than to have nothing to say. Keep the conversation topics about positive subjects. Don’t discuss other employees or problems you have with company policy. Avoid conversations that focus heavily on business, especially if clients are in attendance.

Be Present

If your company is hosting a holiday event, attend and show your appreciation. You never know what opportunities or new friends you may make at the party unless you participate. Company social events will also give you additional information about the people that you work with everyday.

Remembering these tips will ensure that you have a fun and disaster free event. Take time to reflect and enjoy this season. Use your office party to spread holiday cheer amongst fellow employees and don’t forget to be thankful for your job and all the blessings that you have.

Happy holidays!