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End year office party: Common mistakes you should avoid – Business Daily

Common mistakes you should avoid during end-year office parties. PHOTO | POOL
At a company party last year, James Njuguna showed up in an overly flowered shirt paired with jeans.
During meal serving, he put too much food on his plate, picking every food in the serving dishes so much so that he could hardly balance the plate.
Upon sitting at the table, he could not wait to swallow the food in his mouth and actively participated in the discussions, spitting all over.
At the corner, Sheila Nasieku stole the show of the event. Her make-up was screaming at her face, she could not balance herself in her six-inch stiletto.
When drinks were served, Nasieku tried out different drinks, even those that she is not used to.
During the dancing time, when the company CEO was dancing, an already-drank Nasieku could be heard shouting ‘drop it like it is hot’ at the top of her voice.
READ: Bosses too need time off to ease office pressure
This year, both Nasieku and Njuguna were relieved of their duties from the company.
These are among the most common mistakes employees make during office parties.
Though employers might ease office tensions by hosting parties, experts warn that this is not a licence to behave unprofessionally.
Rebekah Kimanzi an Image Consultant shares that decorum should be observed always.
Since image speaks about one even before they utter words, Ms Kimanzi shares that when it comes to dressing code and make-up, keep to what you are used to.
Ms Rebekah Kimanizi, an image consultant. PHOTO | POOL
“This is not the time to wear eyelashes, inches, and inches of heels yet you are not used to. If you intend to have make-up, practice before. If you have never tried on different shades of lipsticks, please try a day before so that you are not self-conscious during the entire party,” she explains.
When it comes to makeup the rule of thumb is less is more. Office parties are not a time to try new things that you are not used to.
It is not the time to try to impress the colleague you’ve been eyeing.
“It is embarrassing to enter the room and what people are seeing is your overly done make-up that is not even saying the right thing,” says Ms Kimanzi.
Additionally, what informs you is the company culture. Those unwritten rules.
Remember that tomorrow you will still have to face your colleagues in the office.
For men, simple and casual is the way to go. Do not overdo it.
“This is not the occasion to wear overly flowered shirts, extremely tight shirts, worn-out belts, and unpolished shoes.”
When serving food, do not put so much food that you look gluttonous. Put small portions and not on each serving.
Also do not put starters, main meals, and dessert all on the same plate.
“Start with starters if you must, go sit, eat then leave the plate on the table. Table manners using cutlery from the outside in. Do not eat with your hands or worry whether the food will finish before you serve as they will always refill the chafing bowls. Keep off what you have never had before,” she says.
Also do not speak with food in your mouth. Chew with your mouth closed. Do not make those sounds.
Be modest. If alcohol is being served and you’ve never taken it, remember this is not the occasion to try new drinks.
“If you are a teetotaller, that is okay, take your non-alcoholic drink. If you must drink, just a glass will do. You should not have the mentality of it’s either today or never.”
Mathangani Muya, a Career and Leadership Coach shares that maintaining composure is at the crux of the office parties.
These parties are mostly about unwinding. Focus more on positive things about the organisation.
Mr Mathangani Muya is a career and leadership coach. PHOTO | POOL
With colleagues you are familiar with you can talk about general issues.
“Do not go overboard with how you interact and the topics you raise with both your colleagues and seniors,” he adds.
Always avoid very personalised issues with people you are not familiar with.
Social convention dictates that you should show up at the parties but if you won’t be available, inform your supervisor in good time.
READ:”Is it wise to stay in a role for too long?
“If you sit with seniors, ensure the conversation relates to the business. Do not dominate the talk, listen more and speak when necessary. Think before you speak,” he explains.
When your senior gives you personal stories, note it is not time for you too to give yours.
“When they share stories on their past relationships as your interactions shape up now it is not your cue to also give your escapades.”
Forums, where you sit with your bosses, are an opportunity to share your sentiments on the business or traits you have observed and it is key to start with compliments.
Such setups are not an opportunity to negotiate your salary or ask for promotions. It is a time to interact with your bosses and what you do.
Change tables and meet up with people you have never interacted with so that you network more.
“Do not bring work-related conflicts and misunderstandings to the party. This is not the time to tell them you’ll never forget what they did to you.”
However, watch for signs that will show you time is up. Be keen on non-verbal cues.
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Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.