Those Who Hear Not The Music Think The Dancers Mad What to Say and Not Say at Your Company’s Holiday Party

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What to Say and Not Say at Your Company’s Holiday Party

Yes, it’s that time of year as businesses around the world get more festive than ever, with buildings filling their buildings with festive music, dazzling decorations and, of course, big parties to celebrate the season.

At these parties, you’re bound to talk to your colleagues. What an opportunity to network with newcomers and enrich long-term collaborations in the workplace!

Of course, you don’t want to have these conversations, because they will seem artificial and robotic. It’s helpful to keep some guidelines in mind that will make the evening more enjoyable for everyone you interact with and encourage your teammates to remember you better. So I suggest you consider four tips to discuss at your club’s annual party.

FIRST: Avoid politics. Many of us watch the news and are informed, so we get fed up with interviews and commentary about who the good guys and gals are and who the bad guys are. Most of us hope not to be bombarded with accusations, treason, recriminations, lawsuits, resignations, firings, inappropriate comments, email misuse, and other upsetting topics when we go to corporate parties.

Not only are you and your colleagues tired of listening to political pundits who get paid to talk, but here’s another thing to keep in mind: most of the time, talking about politics won’t change anyone’s mind—yours, or theirs. What happens instead is that high-minded people become frustrated, angry, and even hostile.

The recent funeral of President George W. Bush reminded me of his call for “a kinder, gentler people.” Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. Too many zealots are violent when more humble people question their judgment.

TWO: Be very positive. This is not a time for gloom and doom. The rest of the year we get more of that. For a few hours, we all want to relax and be optimistic. For example:

–We may be tempted to say, “The service at our table seems to be very slow. That table over there is eating dessert, and our main course hasn’t arrived yet.”

Instead of this negativity, you could make this comment: “Well, I noticed that other tables got their desserts before we did. But I commend those food service professionals – they have a big job serving so many dishes at once. It’s amazing how well they do it.” !

–Again, I want to say, “Aren’t you shivering? It’s freezing outside, and it feels like it here too”? Better to stop and say, “I’ll ask our landlord if he can adjust this thermostat. I think a few degrees warmer would be more comfortable.”

It reminds me of when my wife and I used to go on cruises. Every evening we had dinner with the same couple. One couple was cheerful, upbeat and positive. The other couple spent the whole dinner talking about everything that happened that day. Guess which couple we remember fondly and want to dine with again.

THIRD: For tip three, be very careful with your jokes and puns. Headlines throughout the year confirm this new reality: speech that was once tolerated has become unacceptable and offensive, leading to unwanted publicity and even legal action in extreme cases.

Sure, we can compliment other partygoers on how they look and how well they dance. Tasteful compliments are appreciated. Good judgment tells us the boundaries of language that we should not cross.

FOURTH: My fourth tip is also very important in conversation. A long time ago, I read this advice somewhere: “When you’re interviewing, leave it out every once in a while.”

Think for a minute about the men and women you admire the most. Chances are you won’t name the many tall tale-telling gentlemen and ladies who dominate the time with you. On the contrary… you will

Please treat the acquaintance who made such a comment with the utmost respect.

“Very interesting…tell me more…so what happened?”

You can be the most interesting listener at your club party and the most memorable conversationalist.

In closing, I recommend implementing these speech tips at your company’s holiday party. You will be glad you attended the event.

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