Don’t underrate the importance of the Company Christmas Party
“The best ever work Christmas parties were the ones at your company” someone said to me recently. “They were brilliant and nothing since has been able to compare.”
- Don’t bother if you’re a misery guts. If that’s you, no matter what you do for your Company Christmas Party, you’re on an uphill battle to make it truly successful. In fact don’t waste your time, because you won’t.
- Do grab the moment. It’s a chance to get everyone together, to show mutual respect and gratitude, to lay the foundations for building great teamwork, for reinforcing your culture. So never feel ‘it’s something you have to do’ – grab it as a fantastic annual opportunity to further develop a wonderful business.
- Don’t do it in February. Or January. Come on, it’s a Christmas party. Get your act together and plan it well in advance.
- Do invite partners, spouses, boy/girl friends. If your business expects a lot from its people, then their work life will impact on their non-work life. I reckon it’s important to include ‘other halves’ to give them the opportunity to meet their partner’s work colleagues, and to give you the opportunity to meet them, to thank them (without being obsequious), and to simply include them in the celebration. So that no-one feels left out, make sure that there’s the option to bring a friend as an alternative.
- Don’t expect a financial contribution. This is an ROI issue. A few £000 spent on a great party will pay back tens if not hundreds of times over. And the moment you ask for money, you’ll be changing the whole ethos of the event.
- Do create a seating plan. Mix people around and, if you can get away with it, don’t sit people next to their partner/guest. This stimulates conversation and breaks down barriers. Do this for each course so that there’s a completely different plan each time. With the final course, put partners/guests near to the person they came with.
- Don’t do speeches. Unless you’re amazingly entertaining (and it’s not just you that thinks so), speeches are not what people have come for; it’s conventional and it’s usually boring. A quick ‘thank you for coming, have a great night’ will suffice.
- Do an act. If you’re up for it, and preferably you can get the involvement of at least one other senior person, do something that will amuse and people will remember (for positive not negative reasons). This must be planned well in advance and practised thoroughly.
- Don’t judge. It’s essential that everyone can let their hair down and have a great time together. Your Christmas party should be a leveller, where people can be themselves, respect each other and enjoy one another’s company.
- Do have fun. Make sure you get around and meet people, show warmth, be you, be human. Creating good relationships isn’t rocket science and fundamentally it’s about being you, being interested in others and showing respect.