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Getting the best of the festive season

Nadine Haughton

It's that time of year again, you have spent the entire year working hard and making a name for yourself in all the right places. The office party season comes around and finally you get a chance to let your hair down and let it all hang out. WRONG!

In the process of building "brand you" this is the best opportunity you will get to impress major decision makers whether at your company or a company you are trying to woo. Don't blow it!

Pitfalls to avoid

" Unless you are an interior decorator, go easy on the tinsel. The office is not your home. Work with the decorations provided by the company and avoid the urge to "deck out" your cubicle/office with balls, bells and mistletoe.

" At the party avoid overindulgence of any form. Many employers now limit the amount of alcohol served to avoid some of the mistakes made by staff. Limit the number of drinks to a maximum of two and avoid mixing drinks.

" Once you have had your hors d'oeuvres discard napkins, plates etc., clean your hands and have them available to shake hands with the boss/client.

" This is not the time to discuss unpleasant issues or office politics. Avoid talking business and complaining. Other persons could over hear and you know the company grapevine.

" Women - avoid form fitting and low cut clothing. Men - be conservative. Pay attention to the dress code on the invitation and conform.

" Avoid the "show your face" approach. People will notice if you walk in late or leave after twenty minutes.

" Bring a guest only if it is allowed. The fact that your entire office knows your partner very well does not make him/her an extended member of staff. The decision to limit invites to staff could be a financial one for your company.

" Avoid getting close and personal with co-workers. Remember that security cameras will still be running in the hallways, and corridors. You do not want to become a company legend. This could negatively impact your career.

" If you are a part of the planning committee, be careful not to offend anyone with language, décor or food choices. Always provide a vegetarian option.


" Ensure that you are professional at all times. Senior managers use these opportunities to identify persons who can represent the company.

" Make eye contact and appear approachable.

" Make an effort to meet as many new persons as possible. Set a target and go to work. If you are shy, approach persons who are standing alone or who appear to be just as shy.

" Take the time to compliment managers and co-workers on the achievements of the year.

" Say thank you to key persons at the end of the evening. Your superiors will remember this.

Enjoy the blessings of the festive season, be safe and continue to work and network.

Nadine Haughton is the marketing director, The Brand Warriors. She can be contacted at
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