Any team social event outside of work is a great opportunity to get to know your team better and unfortunately it is also the time when you can let yourself down. So what can you do to keep your antics off Facebook or Twitter that may come back to haunt you?
1. Take your own advice!
As a manager what will you be saying to your team about how to behave at the Christmas bash? Have you issued any guidelines? Taking this step will also set the standards for your own behaviour.
2. Consider the consequences
Take a moment to consider what might be the result of a few hours inappropriate behaviour. Are you willing to take this risk?
3. Put yourself in the position of possible observers
One way to judge behaviour is look at it from a different perspective. Just because you think you think, ‘I’m just having fun!’ will others view it in the same way. Office banter can sometimes be seen as harassment or even offensive. As these observers may be customers, partners or even potential clients, other people’s perceptions can be very damaging to your business and even your career.
4. Know your limitations
You will know your limitations better than anybody else. Past behaviour is often an indicator of future behaviour. What mistakes have you made in the past? How much do you normally drink? What is your normal ‘limit’ before you start to lose control? What is likely to happen (from what people have told you) if you do lose control.
5. Prevention is better than cure
Eating before the party and drinking water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks gives you a much better chance of enjoying the party without giving yourself a headache in more ways than one.
6. Keep it light and avoid talking about work
It isn’t just behaving badly that people talk about afterwards. Comments like ‘I got stuck with Paul all evening and all he did was talk about the project!’. Even if there are existing and potential customers at the party, you are more likely to develop a positive long term relationship if you get to know them as people. In fact it is a lot easier for them to talk about their favourite subject – themselves. It will make them feel more comfortable too. Also learn how to talk about yourself in short sharp bursts so that you don’t bore them to death!
7. Remember you can still have a great time without being drunk!
You will know when you go out for a meal with friends that it’s more about the people and the company than the meal itself. Being happy is a state of mind. Focus on the social and not the alcohol!
A small amount of planning and self-control can keep you safe this Christmas and give you many more happy memories than regrets for years to come.
Director of Training at MTD