It's Christmas party time and the horror stories you’ve heard from colleagues, friends or in the papers provides both entertainment and feelings of dread at the prospect of it happening to you this Christmas. Whilst success and disaster may be inevitable, here are 4 tips to set you in good stead ahead of this year’s celebrations.
1. Find A Buddy
We all have that one colleague we are particularly close to and trust. Ask that person if you can buddy up for the party. Have a conversation with them beforehand and set your limits. Discuss what you hope to achieve like introducing yourself to a key manager, set your alcohol limits, who you hope to politely avoid, and how you are getting home. Have this person check in with you as the night progresses or politely nudge you if they feel you are going off course. It’s harder to do it alone than with that extra bit of support. However, YOU are ultimately responsible for your own actions so no buddy blaming the next day!
2. Network With Senior Staff At The Beginning Of The Evening
The Christmas party is a great opportunity to ‘bond’ or network with senior staff who are normally hard to get in front of. Do this at the beginning of the evening, before you get too 'relaxed' and are still on top form. You’ll have better control over the conversation, will be more likely to remember which tactical points you wish to cover, and not yet 'too relaxed' to tell that joke that went too far......
3. Beware of Gossip
The Christmas party is a breeding ground for office gossip. It may be really entertaining and tempting to gossip but you will have to deal with the wrath in a professional setting afterwards. Prepare yourself for risky conversation and guiding the topic away from gossip as it occurs. You may trust the situation but gossip always has a way of getting out. Remember, it will destroy relationships with people you have to see every day. People will be more alert to gossip being spread about them during Christmas, so you’re more likely to get caught.
4. Stay Away From Your Work Nemesis OR Crush.....
We can’t get on with everyone and tensions can build up in a professional environment. At the party, try to politely avoid people that you dislike altogether. This way you are far less likely to get into a confrontation or say something out of line in a causal manner you wouldn't usually adopt. If you really want to confront them about something. Hold tight and do so in a 1-2-1 back in the office.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, we all know a work crush is rarely a good thing, but we are human and sometimes we can't help it! However, a public setting is not the best time to confront the situation and you are best off avoiding this person altogether as a safeguard against drinking and the celebratory vibe. Let’s be honest, you may think you are being discreet but everyone knows when someone fancies somebody or is flirting..…and worse, they'll be watching!
Do you have any Christmas party horrors to share about your or an old colleague? Share in the comment feed, I'd love to hear about them!
Nicola Lawler, Marketing and Operations Executive