Communication skills for your office year-end function

John French


Your communication skills at your office party can make or break your career.

People remember how you communicate and behave

Office year end functions can be a communication skills trap

The office year-end party is usually where some of the craziest communication of the year takes place. People are usually beyond drained and exhausted at this time of the year. Most people are also beyond excited that the end of the year is finally here.

Add free food and booze to this equation and we often see a terrifying communication cocktail emerging where some employees commit career suicide. Christmas party bloopers can take far more than just a day to recover from!

Christmas party communication skills tips and techniques

Here are our Corporate Guru tips and techniques worth considering to navigate your way successfully through your office year end function:

  1. Most people forget that the year-end function is still a work function. Sure, we all want to relax and let our hair down, but no boss or manager wants to learn that they have employed a wild hooligan. It is far better to be strategic and think of your office party as an extension of your normal working day, rather than getting carried away with the wild notion that it’s an opportunity to get wasted on the company’s budget.

  2. Your office year-end party may be your most important communication platform for the year. This is usually the only time that the entire staff gets together and everybody gets to notice, observe and judge how you carry and conduct yourself. Make the most of this personal PR platform. Get out there and mingle. One of the best strategic reasons to attend this party is to network. Try to speak to as many people as possible in the room. Be sure to make a favourable impression on your boss and superiors.

  3. The year-end function is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know your boss and seniors on a more personal level. It is the one time where your bosses are guaranteed to be more open and relaxed. You can maximize this accessibility. This s the perfect opportunity for you to build closer relationships with your superiors. Let them get to know you and let them connect with your positive qualities that they are likely to admire. Shine in front of your managers and make a great social impression!

  4. Free alcohol is wonderful … in moderate amounts. With your freedom comes responsibility. If you over-indulge it will simply demonstrate a lack of control and maturity as well as show that you are willing to abuse company resources and privileges. Remember, a hangover can disappear in a day, but your reputation may be gone for a lifetime.

    Also think twice before making the office party the venue for a first date or back office fling! There are consequences for every action we take and every decision we make.

  5. Tread the fine line between being the office clown and sitting in a corner like the proverbial party pooper who won’t join in the fun. It is important to try and get the balance right. Again, be strategic. Have loads of fun but don’t fall int the trap of embarrassing yourself and others.

  6. Select your topics of conversation carefully. You don’t want to create enemies or destroy work relationships. Knowing what to say, and definitely what not to say, is vital in maintaining a respected and professional reputation and your promising career. To determine the appropriate and professional conversational boundaries, avoid issues that might make a colleague feel uncomfortable. Danger topics can include physical appearance, health, race, religion, personal finances and office politics.

    Also, refrain from gossiping. Just one inappropriate or unsuitable remark can damage how others perceive you and can affect your reputation and future advancement. Keep your words positive, productive and professional. Even at the office Christmas party, you are being analysed and judged.

  7. Your colleagues deserve your full attention. Do not spend the time on your cell phone or texting others. It is just plain rude. Everyone wants to feel included, acknowledged and appreciated at this special time of year. Your being present and attentive is perhaps the greatest gift you can give to your colleagues. Being distracted causes both pain and frustration. Remember that.

  8. Don’t just hang out with your co-workers that you know well. Your year-end function is a golden opportunity to further your career goals and professional advancement. Look for opportunity windows to interact with superiors that you don’t often get the chance to interact with regularly.

    Meeting co-workers from other departments can also open new doors to future advancement and increased work productivity. Have fun with your close work buddies but be sure to meet and build relationships with as many new people as possible. It is your one golden opportunity during the year to make this happen.

  9. Wish everyone a great festive season / Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. No one wants to be marginalised or left out at Christmas. Spread some great festive cheer by being considerate of everyone and wishing everyone well.

    Don’t forget to thank your colleagues who helped to arrange your year-end function. Connect with, engage and make eye contact with everyone and make sure your good wishes sound sincere and heart felt.

  10. Exit the party with charm and grace. Don’t make the mistake of being be the first or the last to leave. The first person to leave breaks up the party, and the last one to leave usually lacks sensitivity and consideration.

    Remember to say farewell and thank you to your most senior colleagues, the party organiser and your boss, before you leave. A respectful thank you e-mail the following day also will make you shine.

 Phew! This certainly seems like a lot to consider and remember, especially when you just want to let your hair down at the end of the year. But think a little further. The next time you’re up for a promotion, you’ll reap the rewards of your year-end professionalism.

You can enhance your year-end reputation by:

  1. Asking yourself what kind of impression you need to create to open the door to further engagement and opportunities.
  2. You can improve your Christmas party first impressions and ability to communicate professionally by paying attention to your non-verbal communication: your posture, body language, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye contact.
  3. In face to face communication, you can improve your verbal communication by paying attention to your voice: your voice projection, clarity of speech and friendly tone of voice.
  4. Keep an open mind, pay attention and use effective listening skills to listen to your colleagues’ points of view and accommodate their personality types and communication styles.

If you would like to improve your communication skills, or for more information on our various communication skills training programmes, e-mail the Communication Guru John French at

Here is a link to Communication Guru, John French’s LinkedIn profile:

Communication Guru would like to wish all our clients, learners, supporters, suppliers and friends peace and goodwill over the festive season and every good wish for 2020. Stay safe; keep shining!

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Stress Management is a vital module in all of our training programmes because stress is the greatest enemy of effective communication. Listen to this 8 minute beautiful guided relaxation by Jenny Ibbotson. It will help you to manage anxiety and develop a habit of calmness.


Stress Management is a vital module in all of our training programmes because stress is the greatest enemy of effective communication. Listen to this 8 minute beautiful guided relaxation by Jenny Ibbotson. It will help you to manage anxiety and develop a habit of calmness.


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