Treading the minefield of Xmas office functions: tips on how to party ‘professionally’ this silly season

OK so it’s that time of year again – office parties and business networking events a plenty along with the flow of alcohol. Love them or hate them, corporate Christmas parties are an integrated part of business life and perfect for cementing relationships with your clients and associates, as well as being a chance to source new leads and expand your network. However, before you get into the reindeer outfits and knock back the egg-nog, there are a few (PR) partying rules you should follow. An alcohol-fuelled Christmas party is not a good enough reason to throw your professionalism out the window. So if you are serious about setting the bar and keeping your career alive, follow our top PR partying tips:

1) Drive to the party.This way you won’t be able to get drunk as you will have to drive home. You might also become the knight in shining armour as you will be able to drop off any drunk colleagues (or even clients) if necessary.

2) Eat before hand and at the event (if possible). Even if there is only mini-cocktail sausages or deep fried spring rolls, something is better than nothing. If you are running the event, don’t be a scrooge, supply some food!

3) View the party as a time to secure relationships and potentially network with suppliers or clients. Touch base with all of the key people but try not to hassle the boss or Managing Director too much as their job is to also network with their team.

4) Dress appropriately (no boobs, tank tops or thongs visible – and we are not just referring to footwear here).

5) Keep the business talk to a minimum. There’s nothing worse than someone pushing their products on you when all you want to do is enjoy a vino and have a laugh with your colleagues. Have a few topics on hand to make conversation and keep it football scores, latest news that day, fun industry stories

6) Balance the timing – don’t leave too early and don’t be the last person there. You want to make an impression and have fun but at the same time you don’t want to be known as the drunk hanger-on. It’s easy to become known as a drinker and this can affect your professional reputation.

7) Have fun. People are more relaxed at this time of year so it’s ok to have a laugh – just don’t make a joke at someone else’s expense. That’s a definite no-no.