It was a great party! That’s the primary thing you want to remember and share after a business event. Whether the annual office Christmas party, the company summer BBQ at the lake, or a corporate-sponsored bash at a conference, all are occasions for drinking, dining and indulging in food and beverage overload. There’s your initial cue for caution — indulging. That’s exactly what you should not be doing at any business-related event — over indulging. Whenever in a professional setting, make a conscious effort to avoid slamming down too many drinks and consuming too much overly rich food because it can result in two negative things: making you physically feel bad and, even worse, making you look bad in front of your professional friends and your boss.
What to do? Enter my five tips I’ve been sharing for drinking yet still displaying best behavior in a business social setting. In my two previous blog installments I provided detail on the first three tips which included: Decrypting the drinking code, Drinking or not, Drinking in degrees and related bad deeds. You’ll want to take another look at the details in the posts immediately preceding this one for super ways to stay ahead of pitfalls which may prevail at corporate parties. Let’s wrap things up with the final two tips now.
Even though drinking is deeply ingrained into business socializing it doesn’t mean you have to put up with uncomfortable consumption scenarios. If a manager or associate has liquor issues, this can easily spill into imbibing or intoxication at the office — a huge no-no. What should you do? Avoid the person involved if you can. If it’s your supervisor you have a greater issue. Inappropriate conduct from anyone should be reported to human resources or other reliable workplace authority. Anxieties over negative repercussions for reporting an infraction may put you in a tough spot from all angles. Ask trusted colleagues for input and you’ll likely learn you’re not the first recipient of bad behavior from the involved boss or co-worker. You’ll need to decide the best action to take which may include finding another position as a final option. If you’re the person with the drinking problem, look into your company’s EAP or Employee Assistance Program for help.
Delivering a toast
Part of your competence for business-related drinking should include being prepared to share remarks when called upon, particularly when you’re the host or ranking executive in the room. I’m talking about making a toast. You may be thinking … bah, humbug, what’s the big deal about making a toast? Hold onto your beer-induced babble because it is a big deal. Here’s why. A well-structured and eloquently delivered toast can set the tone for an extremely successful event as well as punctuate appreciation for those attending. In fact, the speaking club, Toastmasters International, has a set of tips and techniques focused on creating and sharing the perfect toast. Yeah, they do. Make a point to put quality time into preparing a high caliber toast which complements the gratitude you have for your high value guests.
Sharing food and drink as part of celebration and collaboration have been part of the essence and energy of creating corporate connections since the beginning of business itself. Like the sizzle with a steak, the alcohol aspect of partying plays a special role in how well a gathering is experienced. Use the above tips to responsibly make the most of your industry’s drinking culture and help you avoid the pitfalls of over indulging with liquor and your expense account. Don’t be like a kid in a candy store when it comes to the open bar at the office-sponsored party. Instead, be the judicious participant who is knowingly munching on morsels and consuming cocktails at a well-paced rate which is best for you. Since the biggest line at most conferences is at the bar, enjoy your next event and escape the lengthy queue for drinks by picking up a plate before you partake in a beverage. You’ll have a great time and the bar will still be there after the long line is gone. *
*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.