It’s that time of the year again; office workers all over the world are picking their outfits for the office party. Whether you’re looking forward to the prospect of celebrating the season with a few drinks with the team, or dreading the whole prospect, there are few pointers to make the most of the evening and perhaps even turn it to your advantage.
Finding the right balance between maintaining enough self-control and avoiding being seen as a wet blanket is a tricky one, especially if you’re the boss or team leader, where one shot too many could give your team enough dirt on you to last the whole of next year.
But as a consummate events or marketing professional, the last thing you’ve got on your mind is getting smashed and snogging the face off the head of accounts isn’t it?...
Whatever your plans, there are ways to turn the office to your own advantage.
Know your Numpty Limit
There is nothing worse than waking up on a Sunday morning with a groggy head thinking ‘Oh My God! Did I actually do that?’. Most of us have been there and it’s bad enough when we suddenly remember throwing up over our best friend’s new shoes. Imagine the embarrassment if it’s the boss’s Jimmy Choos you’ve chundered over.
If you’re aware of your “Numpty Limit” - the point at which (or perhaps that should be the pint at which) you stop being good company and become a Numpty. Drinking still water in between might help extend that limit (apparently fizzy water just makes you absorb alcohol more quickly), but it’s worth stopping before you make a complete idiot of yourself.
The ability to be a good laugh, while retaining your composure is a good combination in our industry. And if you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, you’ll have teasing rights for months.
If handling booze isn’t your strong point, don’t feel pressured into drinking. And if you’re driving - don’t drink. Simple.
Careless talk costs jobs
The temptation to speculate about the boss’s suspiciously smooth forehead or what exactly happened between Julie and Chris at the corporate away day can be pretty hard to resist, especially when the conversation is fueled by several glasses of Prosecco.
But it’s probably worth exercising a bit of caution about what you say (or become associated with) and who overhears you. There are some Machiavellian people who will draw you into slagging off a colleague and will report your words back to them. Don’t get suckered into that old trick.
Oh yes, and if your spouse or partner is also invited to the party make sure they don’t see it as an opportunity to tell the bosses how much they take you for granted. Believe me - this will not help your career prospects!
Dress to impress
The office Christmas party is a great opportunity to show off that nice new little black number that makes you feel super-confident. Something that leaves little to the imagination will no doubt be memorable and bring pleasure to many of your colleagues, but a classy outfit will show you as a sophisticate who can mix well with clients and colleagues alike.
And gentlemen - if it’s a black tie do, make the effort and hire an outfit for the evening, even if you think you look like a penguin. It’s not that expensive and is better than trying to get away with a standard suit. If it’s tying the bow tie that puts you off, the clip on ones are pretty good. Pretend you’re James Bond if it helps!
Network with new colleagues
As tempting as it may be to spend all your time with your work friends, the office Christmas party is a great opportunity to speak to other people in the department or company you don’t normally meet with. You never know, you might find out about opportunities in other departments, or impress an important new contact with your informed conversation about Rennie Mackintosh. Or you might simply make a few new friends.
Work the room, speak to as many people as possible and you will be sure to boost your likeability in the office. And if you spot someone looking a bit lonely, chat to them and introduce them to a group. Think about how difficult parties can be for some people and make some time to include them. Who knows, it might even be the bosses shy spouse who will speak about you in glowing terms after the event.
In that way, you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons.
Have fun - and if it all goes wrong and you find yourself swinging from the chandelier remember we will be open in the New Year to help you find a new opportunity in marketing or events.