As the busiest social season of corporate and employer hospitality approaches, this is a good time to address the subject of the company Christmas party. As a guest, and as a host, there’s quite a bit to be considered, not least, what not to do at festive function. If you’re in an environment where year-round business socialising has been prevalent, you’ve probably seen (and heard of) countless social blunders and corporate clangers, and nowhere is this more prolific than at the work Christmas do. It’s astonishing how Brand Buffoon comes to the fore, to boot the most carefully nurtured Brand Me image off its precarious pedestal.
In the interests of fairness, I’ll ‘fess up to having been less than whiter than seasonal snow-driven slush, (or was it lush?), just so this ramble doesn’t smack of the holier-than-thou.
Back in the day when I was a newly minted sales sprog, I attended my first company Christmas party, a lavish affair complete with all-night free bar (uh-oh!). The lessons I learned from the experience are:
- An all-night bar doesn’t make it compulsory to drink all night;
- Never attempt (if you’re on your ‘nth' bubbly beverage) to converse with anyone of authority, however jolly they seem on the Bolli - it’s a trap;
- Do not approach the tilting dance floor – you could barely stay upright when it wasn’t moving;
- It’s inelegant to crawl up the foyer staircase – take the elevator – the service elevator (by now you can easily pass for a bag of laundry);
- Only a complete numpty books their top prospect appointment for the morning after.
Not the most auspicious way to launch a career and Brand Me. It was so long ago that it pre-dates handheld mobile phones, let alone iPhones and social media (thank you God!); I can only show my face on LinkedIn now because my bosses from back then have since retired or died – or have pretended to in order to avoid me.
Had there been such things as Blogs at the time, I may have been saved (from my idiotic self) by Dan Miles’ Blog The Ultimate Office Christmas Party Etiquette Guide, in which he lists his #1 tip as ‘Be on brand'. A piece of invaluable advice! It’s quite hilarious, if a bit naughty …
In a more managerial vein, there’s also this article on Managing Office Christmas Parties from the legal eagles Eversheds. After reading this last one, you could be forgiven for grinching out and doing without a Christmas do … if you don’t mind being Brand Grinch.
Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.