As year-end social networking events kick into high gear this month, there are 10 things you can do to ensure you get invited back next year.

Promptly Respond to RSVP

Event planners indicate that only 30% of invited guests respond to the first round of invitations. Whether you’re going or not, respond promptly.

Prepare

Think about who will likely be there and do some homework. Coming prepared for relevant, informed conversation is appreciated by hosts and fellow guests.

Show Up On Time

Unless it is an informal open house that states a range of hours (from 4 to 8 p.m.), try to show up within 30 minutes of the start time. If any speaking is planned, it usually comes between 30 and 45 minutes after the event begins. Showing up exactly on time is greatly appreciate by hosts who are nervous until guests start to arrive, plus you get to spend more time with the event hosts.

Engage in Two-Way Conversation

Asking good questions and active listening will engage others and make you the most interesting person at the party. Yep, it’ll be you, not the jabber box trying to be the center of attention.

Avoid Politics

Even if you think you’re talking with a sympathetic audience, politics today is far too polarized to bring to a social event unless you absolutely certain that everyone there leans your way politically. Even then, it is highly risky to discuss politics in larger social settings.

Keep Talk Shop to a Minimum

Work conversation is often a good icebreaker, but try to move onto other subjects in order to not bore others who won’t be as interested. My wife wisely calls “time out” if I fall into the trap of too much PR shop talk.

Don’t Use Your Phone as a Social Crutch

Try to keep your phone in your pocket with the ringer turned off. Constantly checking for text messages makes you look bored, not interested. “Wonder where he wants to be tonight,” I heard one host inquire after a guest kept checking his phone as if was malfunctioning.

Watch the Booze

Switch to soda or water before allowing yourself to be overserved. As engaging and funny as you think you’re being perceived, that’s probably not what the other guests are observing.

Leave When the Party is Over

No matter how much fun you are having, if the invitation had a specific start and end time, don’t stay later than the stated end time–unless you’re personal friends with the hosts and are going to help clean up.

Send Thank You Notes

Write a timely thank-you note. I no longer insist on hand-written notes; email is quite fine—especially if it is sent immediately after the event.

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash