…art of the mingling, what to drink, talk about or avoid
A recent survey on party going habits revealed that a whopping 93 percent of Brits admitted that shyness got in the way of socialising and just under a third would rule out talking to strangers at a party even if the party was being thrown by a friend. In Nigeria, one of the happiest nations of the world, socialising transcends business, religion and class. Enjoying and savouring every moment is the goal of every guest. During this season of mulled wine, good tidings of comfort and joy, social ineptitude can be redressed by potential culprits.
Meet & Mingle – the most important thing is to be yourself. If you don’t know anyone, head for the bar to assess the situation. Should anyone give you a smile, be bold enough to walk up to them, pay a compliment – “that’s a nice necklace” “what’s that drink?” – and you’ve broken the ice. If you get stuck with the token party bore? Let them down gently, suggest a ‘nose powdering’expedition to escape their clutches, when you get back, move on to the next one – hopefully with better luck.
If you see the Financial Controller sitting on his own in a dark corner, help him out and go and speak to him. The poor chap perhaps has problems fitting in. That’s not to say all finance folks are like that, but that goes for anyone who might be a little shy, or even new to the company. Some firms encourage people to bring their partners, and they often feel strange not knowing anyone. Help them feel comfortable by giving them undivided attention – a hallmark of hospitality. You may forge a valuable alliance. Make sure you’ve got a stack of business cards in your pocket or in a handy place in your handbag.
Kisses, Hugs and maybe more – not at the Christmas party. Remember that sexual harassment laws still apply at work functions, and anyway this is a cheesy time to tell someone you’ve got the ‘hots’ for them. Be jovial, expressive, but not sleazy – trust me, it will come back to haunt you.
Meeting the CEO …. we realise that work may be a common interest point with others at the Christmas party, but this is your chance to really get to know one another. Work is better left at work. Let your hair down and show what an interesting and attentive person you are by becoming acquainted with your colleagues on a social level. Bosses, supervisors and managers especially like to avoid the work topic, and it won’t go down well with them to bring it up. They’re trying to escape it too.
Decency still applies….politics, sex, toilet humour, religion, women, races… all those subjects which happen to include a barrage of bad jokes and can be touchy subjects should be avoided. Remember that outside of work, people still have feelings and opinions, and though you might be watching your alcohol intake, everyone else may not be. Badly approached topics on these subjects may result in heated debates and personality mismatches. Avoid these at all cost – but what else is there to talk about?
Complaints – remember, this is supposed to be a fun occasion. Don’t whinge about the food, service, venue, company, drinks etc. Pretend you’re enjoying yourself and trust me, you will.
How much to eat and drink…..
It is ‘free’and probably with an ‘open bar’ – by all means, take advantage of the ever-pouring drinks and the plentiful free food… but, remember your own limitations. A good rule of thumb with alcohol is to do one alcoholic drink and one water/soft-drink/juice. Spacing yourself is important. Whatever you do, don’t drive home if you’ve had too many. We recommend you keep yourself happy, but not quite tipsy. Some beverages might be deceptively mild and mellow but might interfere with your ability to stand up elegantly. ‘Wobbly-legged’is definitely not an option at the Christmas party.
Get a Taxi or book one in advance – most parties are usually held in easily accessible locations and are therefore close to taxi resources. Some areas also have a service where you and your car can get driven home. The restaurant/venue will be happy to book your transport on your behalf – I’m sure they will like to see you again.
Richie Dayo Johnson is an experiential specialist and consultant in communication and human behaviour. He works with aspiring leaders, high net-worth individuals and multinational organisations in Europe and Africa. He presently oscillates between the two continents depending on work and family commitments.
Aspire | Achieve | Advance