It’s that time of year again and we’re all preparing for the inevitable: the Christmas party. Having arranged a number of office Christmas parties myself – and witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly – I’d like to share a few tips on how to make it a great celebration and how to come out winning!

Often it is the party person in the team who is given the job of organising the event and it is good to set out some clear expectations at the start, specifically:

  • How much time they can devote to this project. The right person will become very enthusiastic and could literally spend the majority of the next two weeks designing every last detail, so set some clear boundaries.
  • The budget (see above!).
  • Ensure everyone is involved, included and mentioned. I once spent a Christmas party with a drunk colleague crying on my shoulder because his department had been left out of a Christmas song performed by colleagues.
  • Try to cater for all cultural and personal preferences.  Be more inventive than mushroom stroganoff for vegetarians and orange juice for non-drinkers; it is their Christmas celebration too!

If you’re delivering a speech, make it short. This is your opportunity to thank everyone (everyone!). If you only have time to mention a few individuals it should be individuals that the team want to thank.  If the team is small enough, mention everyone for something they have achieved, or made people laugh about, this year.  Remember, it will take more time to prepare a short address than a long one but it will be worth it. Nothing dampens a celebration more than a long rambling speech.

Do not get drunk. At all. Not under any circumstances. Nothing will lose the respect of your team more than having to persuade a taxi driver to take you home.

If it is an evening event and likely to get raucous, leave before it does. Although you may hear some of the stories about what people got up too you really don’t need to see it! Rely on the sensible members of your team to sort out whatever may happen.

If you have a young workforce who drink to have a great time, do not expect them to be brilliant at work the next day!  A good party means a few hangovers and the need of emergency bacon butties.  In fact, if you wish to earn brownie points arrange to have them delivered to the office the following morning.  It may encourage some people to come in!

Ignore anything other than the most serious breaches of behaviour that you hear about from the night before. This is the Christmas party after all!  If it was a good one then some stories will be handed down into company folklore.

Have a great party!  Merry Christmas!

To find out how Converse Well can help you turn difficult feedback situations into opportunities to motivate and engage your staff, call 020 8870 9036 or 07734 944 515 or email