“Did you hear that someone fell into the boss’ dinner table at the Holiday party? Who was That Guy?”
“I cannot believe that someone would wear such an inappropriate outfit to work – holiday season or not! Who is That Girl?”
“Seriously, he gave that as his ‘Secret Santa’ gift…Who is That Guy?”
Do any of those comments sound familiar? Have you heard them said in the past – perhaps you have said them yourself? Scenarios like these happen all too often and it seems the holiday season is ‘prime time’.
One of the quickest ways to tarnish your personal brand – or worse – is to become That Guy or That Girl. Office parties, holiday lunches, gift exchanges, happy hours – there’s a myriad of social events at this time of year. Events that are special occasions where most people expect to have a good time – and most everyone does.
Some people have too good a time however, and do something which they normally wouldn’t – something which can quickly make the gossip circles where everyone is talking about That Guy.
With that in mind, here are a few things to remember as you celebrate the season – and throughout the entire year for that matter.
Branding is an ongoing process – Every action and interaction – how you behave, how you act, what you do and what you say – is a brand message. In the office or out, in a work environment or in personal time – remember that communicating your brand is a full time endeavor.
It’s up to you to manage your reputation – A basic tenet of branding is that if you don’t manage your own brand, someone else will. The best way to manage your brand is to know what you can – and cannot – control. You can control your own actions. You cannot control what others say. The key is to stay true to yourself and any critics – or gossips – will not have any valid material to spread.
If it is NSFW it is likely NSFOP – Simple rule – if it’s not suitable for work it is not suitable for the office party. There is a natural tendency to get a bit more relaxed in social settings even when they are work related. If you have any doubt as to what is acceptable at the party, defer to the ‘normal rules of behavior’ in the office.
Know your limits – This is especially true when it comes to consumption – be it alcohol, food or talking. Trust me, you don’t want to be the person who over imbibes and says inappropriate things way too loudly, slurs while talking to the boss, eats most of the desserts, hops on stage to sing with the band – well you get the idea. Another key thing to avoid is monopolizing anyone’s time with conversation. I am not saying don’t have fun – enjoy the season as much possible without becoming That Girl.
Have a strategy – A strategy? At the holiday celebration? Absolutely! Do plan on enjoying yourself – but also realize it is a work situation so think of it as you might a networking event. Before you even head to the event, have a good idea of what you hope to get out of the party. It is certainly fair to talk business but don’t overdo it. Know what you want to learn and what you want to communicate. Be fully prepared to discuss relevant personal topics. Know who you would like to interact with. Most of all first be interested, then be interesting. Keep the focus on the other person in true Go-Giver style.
It is the holiday season and a time for fun, socializing and having a good time. Just don’t have such a ‘good time’ that your reputation is compromised. Manage your brand and don’t become That Guy or That Girl.
Something extra to consider for “Have a strategy” is that the office party is a great time to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level. This is often an appropriate time to ask them about their families, interests, and holiday plans.
Showing an interest in someone personally is a great way to take a professional relationship to a more functional level as long as points 1-4 are still maintained.
Heath, your comments are spot on and reflect the true purpose behind most work related holiday gatherings – strengthening relationships, building rapport, engaging without the normal work place stress, etc. thanks for adding value to the post!