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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The holly jolly holidays are finally around the corner, which means a couple things are fast approaching: presents, joy and (duhn, duhn, duhn) parties. Often these types of events are tacitly mandatory and can either make or break your reputation within the company. But have no fear; here are some tips and tricks to sounding smart.

Usually the most nerve-wracking part of the whole party is talking to your boss and the higher-ups at your company. Some decide just to say hello, while some take the daring journey to start a conversation. Not only is it important to start a conversation with your boss, but it is also important to talk to your associates. It is the art of networking, which drives every businessman to success. But...there is a trick. When networking, you want people to like you and like what you know. You can't just walk around and talk about your local sports teams. You have to "know" what you are talking about. But it goes beyond that: not only do you need to know what you are talking, but you also need to look like you know what you are talking about.

When attending these parties, it is very important that you look the part. The more professional you look, the better. You never want to be underdressed, always overdressed. Perception is everything in life.

One of the most important techniques that used while talking to anyone in general is to sound confident in what you are saying, even if you have no idea of what you are talking about.

There is no need to tell a fake story, yet don't make it look like you are oblivious to what is going on. Owners of companies and large corporations want you to sound sure of yourself and know what you are doing, because their reputation is on the line. Stand up proud and talk as if you have a form of purpose or meaning, so they know that you mean business and you won't be "put you on the back burner". Make sure to give a strong handshake and look the person who you are talking to in the eyes. This shows that you are comfortable in casual business scenarios and you know what you are doing.

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There are a couple things that really make a person sound intelligent. One of them is when you start throwing around numbers. Knowing that you have a company party coming up, it would be in your best interest to do research on some analytical information that applies to the business sector that you are in. Don't go crazy, because the person that you are talking to will loose interest.

Another big topic that gets thrown around at these parties is the economy and economic figures. Many do not know much on this topic, because they find it boring. What I suggest is find the most recent information of an economic figure or situation and read a minimum of two articles on it. When you are talking to someone and you hit a wall in the conversation, instantly revert to the economic information that you have read, while elaborating a little. In a situation where the other person starts talking about the economy, immediately revert back to what you have previously read.

You should always know statistical information of the company that you work for. Beforehand, it wouldn't hurt to brainstorm new ideas for the company such as new ways to reach a viewer base, product line, market share, etc. When doing this, it really shows that you care about the company and its mission.

Be ready for all questions and make sure to speak slowly and clearly. Try not to use filler words and slang. Be yourself, and don't be afraid to have some laughs and crack some jokes; you want to display a diverse and well-rounded personality. Always stay relaxed, as if it is no big deal. Whatever you do, the person listening usually adjusts to the tenor of the conversation. If you act relaxed, the conversation will go very smoothly.

--Written by Max Levin for MainStreet