Christmas parties are a fantastic opportunity to let your hair down with your colleagues and talk socially with your bosses. They can, however, be fraught with trouble if you happen to overindulge. The mixture of alcohol, festive cheer, alcohol, people in charge of your paycheck and alcohol often results in some pretty sticky situations. A recent Forbes article revealed that 30% of workers believe their bad behaviour at a work Christmas party impacted their career negatively, 20% have drunk too much at a holiday party and 14% of surveyed people know someone who was fired because of their Christmas party antics. To ensure these statistics don't end up applying to you, we’ve made a Christmas Party guide to help navigate the confusing line between working and partying.
1. The Christmas party is a corporate event - don’t drink too much
It sounds simple enough, but don’t be seduced by the siren song of the open bar. No one wants to talk to the colleague slurring their words, hiccupping and spilling red wine on the bosses white shirt. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and they are rather necessary for the corporate environment. If you struggle to say no to a drink or feel it would be rude to refuse something offered by your boss you can always politely decline explaining that you drove and have already had your limit. Drink your drinks very slowly so you are not surprised when you stand up to find yourself swaying. Most importantly, know your limit and make sure you stay firmly below it, what is acceptable amongst your friends is different amongst your employers.
2. Have a small meal before you go
This will not only help soak up any alcohol you will drink, but will also stop you from running after the poor waiter holding the canapés. Remember to not have anything too garlicky as you will be having close conversations with people you want to impress, not repel!
3. Don’t bring down the Christmas cheer by venting to your colleagues
Think of the Christmas party as an extension of the workplace just decorated with tinsel and cocktails. No matter how tough the year has been, don’t vent to your colleagues about work, you cannot assume it has been the same for them. You also can’t be certain that the recipient of your diatribe isn’t going to let it slip to anyone else. While these people may be your friends, it is a corporate occasion and you need to keep your cool. Also, it is a time for fun, don’t be the negative person who no one wants to get stuck talking to.
4. Listen at least as much you talk
This is an opportunity to actually show off how amiable and funny you are to people who have not had much chance to talk to you (including your bosses boss). Listen, ask relevant questions, have a laugh and make people remember you for the right reasons.
5. Have a cheat sheet of colleague family names
A good way of remembering all the names of your colleagues' families is to have a page in your phone notes. Review this page before you go to the party and ask others if you are not 100% sure. Being horrible with names is often seen as being inconsiderate and lazy, not the quickest way to success. Your colleagues and boss will feel much more appreciated if you introduce them and their partner with the correct name, pronunciation and perhaps even a little information on what they do. This will not only help you out at the Christmas party but in the day to day as well. Keep it up to date, if your bosses’ husband changes jobs, make a note of it in your phone so the next time you meet you can ease into the conversation.
6. If it's a dress-up party then dress up!
Nothing shows that you're a good sport like putting in a bit of effort into your Christmas Party costume. You may think your getting away with your slap up job of a piece of tinsel as a scarf, but trust us, you're not fooling anyone. A good outfit is a great conversation point! Just make sure it's appropriate!
Use the Christmas party as the opportunity it is!
A good way to moderate yourself is to space out every drink with a glass of water. Stay away from hard spirits and tip that tequila over your shoulder. The office party should be fun, and it is a unique opportunity to interact with your colleagues and bosses in an informal environment. If you are thinking of combining your annual Christmas Party with some fantastic festive-themed team building activities check out our blog post. And remember the Christmas party is like a game of snakes and ladders. If you act the part of someone who can be fun and professional, this night can act as an important stepping-stone in your career. If you act like a drunken teenager, you could backslide all the way out of a job.