It’s that time of year again when the office Christmas parties start and my phone runs hot with enquiries about what should, and shouldn’t be the behaviour, and then after the parties, how to apologise for disasters which have occurred.Having recently given interviews to the The West Australian newspaper and Radio 6PR regarding Christmas party etiquette I was reminded of some of the hilarious instances I have heard about over the years. Invariably, of course, the main culprit is an over enthusiasm with the free alcohol on offer. The story of the meek and mild secretary who , after a few cocktails, turned into a candidate for Playboy; and the quiet, IT geek, who after way too many beers tried to chat up the office vamp and when successful had no idea how to take the “opportunity” further. Both of these situations I learnt about when the protagonists involved rang me to find out whether it was necessary, and then how, to apologise for their out of character behaviour.
It’s important to remember that the Office Christmas Party is just that....an office party. It is not an occasion to let your hair down and show your colleagues and bosses what you are generally like on weekends when with forgiving friends. And in these times of competitive employment the interpersonal skills are often considered just as important as the technical skills. The office party is an opportunity to display your social skills.
Before attending Christmas parties I always advise people “if in doubt...don’t”. If wondering whether that last cocktail is a good idea, the chances are that you already know you should move onto water. Definitely don’t take the opportunity in a more relaxed environment to complain to your boss or gossip about colleagues. Even if you don’t remember the conversation the next day, others will.
The “silly season” as it is often called is a time for fun and good cheer with colleagues, clients and customers. Courtesy, a caring manner and charm are the most representative attributes of someone who is considered charismatic...something we should all try to emulate.