Business Drinking: Tips for Behaving and Imbibing, Part 2

December 18th, 2016

Wine, beer or spirits? Many agree that a party isn’t really a party until you open the bar and invite everyone to have a drink. This is particularly true during the holiday season where virtually every office party – most conducted off site at a local restaurant — includes drinking options. Similar to not having a clue as to what to give the name you drew for Secret Santa, this is where things get interesting if not downright confusing when it comes to what’s appropriate. Enter my five tips for drinking in a business environment. drinking-holiday-partyThe first tip I provided in my last installment helps take the initial mystery out of how to handle imbibing with professional colleagues. Here it is again: Decrypt the Drinking Code by asking what drinking policies, whether formal or informal, your company has in place. Read the details in my post immediately preceding this one. Today we’ll cover two more tips. Let’s get going.

Drinking or Not
We all have a drinking preference – religion-based or otherwise. Relationships, personal and professional, can be built or blown on how well imbibing preferences mesh or meltdown. Whether at a conference or joining your group for a beverage after work, business cultures can make drinking together a crucial part of fitting in. Peer pressure may also push you to the bar. What to do? Even if you don’t drink, you need to join in with a non-alcoholic option (try club soda and lime), particularly when traveling for work, or periodically when going out as a team. Don’t want to bother? Think again. Non-joiners can convey a vibe of being stand offish or not interested in building camaraderie. Go out with the gang, order a beverage of some sort – alcoholic or not — and get with the program. Keep your tea toting preference on the down low if you like. Avoid being fussy yet still have fun with the rest of the group – you’ll develop broader friendships and better collaboration as a result. When it comes to these benefits, yes, you’ll have a double.drinking-wine-barrell-2

Drinking in Degrees and Related Bad Deeds
Trouble begins brewing when blending business with drinking to excess, which begs the question:
How much should you drink? You’ll drink only what you can professionally handle, right? For many, this is easy to say but tough to do. Once you get started and drink too much it can be like opening a spigot on a big barrel of wine but, in this case, far too much begins flowing from your mouth. You’re sharing extensive information at an elevated volume. Don’t get me started on the ridiculous things I’ve heard colleagues say when they’re inebriated. The obvious nasty side effect from overindulging (we won’t go into the hangover) is it makes you look bad. Once your buzz is in full bloom you’re no longer sharp and on top of your game. Never drink and drive either. Do yourself a favor and drink only half of what you think you can handle and let another poor slob make a fool of him or herself, not you.

Now that I’ve shared additional insights as to deciding to have a drink or not, and the importance of making sure you don’t drink to excess, what issues surrounding business drinking have left you perplexed in the past? Have you ever overly indulged in adult beverages at a professional function and regretted it? Send your comments and share how drinking in a business setting has provided you with challenges, if any, and how you overcame pressure to fit in that included filling your glass. I’ll have the final two tips for you on this topic in a couple of weeks, talk to you then. *

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

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